Similar themes in Hawthorne Essay examples

Submitted By brooklyn0524
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Nineteenth Century American Literature
October 1, 2014
Dr. La Guardia
C. One which studies, compares, contrasts some aspect of two separate works studied in the course Two of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s well-known short stories are The Birth-mark and Young Goodman Brown. Although the story lines of these works are very different, an underlying theme is common to both. They both reflect the idea of the impossibility of earthly perfection. This similarity is not surprising considering Hawthorne’s influence by the puritan community of his young life. The Puritans strived so hard to be pure and perfect while fighting the undeniable temptations of sin. Many of Hawthorne’s short stories are a reflection of his critical view of Puritanism and its unrealistic grasp of perfection. He is also influenced by the guilt he feels because of his older relatives sentencing “witches” to death. He saw this persecution as hypocritical because one who is judging someone else and deciding if they live or die is living with their own sin in their heart. The theme, impossibility of earthly perfection, is evident in Hawthorne’s short story, The Birth-mark. The symbol of the birth-mark on the woman, Georgiana, represents her seemingly one and only imperfection. While the mark was accepted and even admired by the men in her community and also initially by her new husband, he eventually grows judgmental of the mark and sees it as a flaw. He, who has many flaws himself, becomes disgusted by this small, insignificant mark that makes his wife imperfect. The husband, Aylmer, is so obsessed with perfection that he decides to operate on Georgiana in order to remove the mark which results in her eminent death. He…