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The Birthmark

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,856 Ratings  ·  121 Reviews
The main character is a great scientist and lover of nature with a beautiful wife whom he loves dearly; however, despite the love Aylmer has for his wife, he wonders whether the birthmark she has on her cheek can be removed.
Paperback, 50 pages
Published January 1st 2007 by Perfection Learning (first published 1843)
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Dhanaraj Rajan
Another gift from Aldiko.

A short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne whose The Scarlet Letter is one of my all time favourites. This short story once again proved my belief in Hawthorne.

About the Story:

Mr. Alymer is both a philosopher and a Scientist who specializes in Nature and Chemistry. He gets married to the beautiful Georgiana. The life is good until the day he finds that a slight mark on one of the cheeks of Georgiana is a blight to the perfect beauty she is. A small spot renders takes hold of h
Feb 26, 2012 Serena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Published in 1843, The Birthmark was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, who explored various themes like science versus nature, mortality and marriage through the story of a scientist who was so obsessed with removing a birthmark on his wife’s beautiful face that he ended up killing her with his fixation on absolute perfection. Hawthorne stressed that no man could be without flaws and the plot itself contained several anti-science sentiments, thus categorizing The Birthmark into the Dark Romanticis ...more
Jan 31, 2013 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: American Lit fans, Nathaniel Hawthorne fans
Shelves: 2013
The Birth Mark is a short story by 19th century American author, Nathaniel Hawthorne. This is an excellent, fast read with an enjoyable twist.

Aylmer is a scientist who decided to leave his career to marry his wife, Georgiana. After marrying, Aylmer notices a prominent birth-mark on his wife's face and begins to obsess about it.

Aylmer has a lot of selfish and superficial qualities to his character. To me, he is not a likable character. Georgiana goes along with his ideas because she loves her h
Bobby Jandrew
Nov 05, 2014 Bobby Jandrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nathaniel Hawthorne illustrates a theme of the foolishness in striving for perfection in his short story “The Birthmark.” Hawthorne’s main protagonist, Alymer, is an alchemist completely devoted to his passion for science, but as many men do, finds himself in love with an otherwise beautiful woman named Georgiana; otherwise beautiful because Georgiana possesses a birth defect upon her check in the small shape of a crimson hand. “Alymer’s somber imagination was not long in rendering the birthmark ...more
Althea Ann
(1843) A young woman has always thought that the small birthmark on her cheek was rather a charming feature. Certainly none of her many beaus ever thought it detracted from her beauty. But the man she finally married not only sees it as a flaw, but becomes obsessed with this imperfection, and insists on trying medical and alchemical methods to remove it.

This obsession leads to the destruction of the couple's happiness, some ethically suspect actions, and, of course, eventual tragedy.

The whole pi
Nov 05, 2014 Hamza rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
This short story is just about accepting life with its imperfection. To live a perfect life, is not to live at all!
عبدالرحمن القصير
جنون الكمال والعظمة في شخصية عالم. في هذه القصة يسرد ناثينيال هاوثرون قصة عالم قبيح الشكل تزوج من أجمل امرأة في البلدة إلا أن بها ندبة على أحد خديها منذ الولادة. مع أن كثير من أهل البلدة يرونها تزيد الفتاة جمالاً إلا أن زوجها لم ير ذلك. فاتحها بموضوع إزالة الندبة فصعقت الزوجة وأصيبت بحزن كبير بعدها اقتنعت الفتاة بإزالة الندبة بل أصبحت مهووسة أكثر منه بإزالتها. أخيراً تموت الفتاة بسبب العملية.
Fatima zahra
Sep 18, 2015 Fatima zahra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the Birthmark, we encounter Alymer a young men who embodies Modernity in all its manifestations. A lover and worshiper of science, a scientist himself, who is not satisfied by anything but perfection. The later which will be missed in the women he has chosen as his wife, Georgiana, the lovely kind spirited lady whose love, kindness and beauty where not enough to make Alymer forget her only defect " the Birthmark" that stands apparent on her cheek reminding her husband of how perfectly beauti ...more
Jul 27, 2011 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Hawthorne short story wasn't as entertaining for me as Young Goodman Brown, but it still carries a weighty message... something like, don't try and fix what isn't broken, or even, accept people for the way they are. The man in this story, Aylmer, is trying to get rid of his wife Georgiana's birthmark. It resembles a little "fairy" hand and it really weirds him out... lame. So then he tries to remove it with fatal consequences. My only question is: Why did the birthmark bother his wife so mu ...more
Randy Nguyen
Nov 14, 2014 Randy Nguyen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ap-lit
Major Characters

Central Themes
The objectification of woman
The impossibility of human perfection
Superficiality versus the innate truth
The exploitation of nature and innocence
Greed and Manipulation
Sin and Decay
Nov 21, 2011 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three stars because it's a wonderful story to exemplify the era-specific patriarchal expectations of female identity. Both men and women of the time endorsed the idea that women should be "angels in the house" (Phrase from Coventry's "The Angel in the House" 1885) and the specific references to "celestial" and "immortal" nature of Georgiana opposed to the "earthly imperfection" of the Crimson Hand fit smoothly into this critique. Of course, it can also be taken as a 'love yourself and those arou ...more
Sep 11, 2014 Doug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These are some of the hardest kinds of stories for me to like. The protagonist is established as an educated--nay, a truly enlightened individual--and the narrator is third-person, which, even if it be third-person intimate, encourages the reader to trust in the voice. The trust is further concreted by the enlightened protagonist and the worldly narrator agreeing philosophically on every point, even when those points prove to be disturbing.

Yes, this is an unreliable, third-person narrator. Howev
Nov 07, 2014 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read for Literary Interpretation Class

Hawthorne's stuff is so fun to study for school because there is so much to think about and analyze. I liked this one better than Young Goodman Brown or The Minister's Black Veil (although those are good too). This talks about playing God and the dangers of trying to improve upon what God has created. Of course, science is a good thing and I am super thankful for corrective eye wear and modern medicine but at what point have we gone too far? At what point ar
Feb 03, 2011 Kp rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Just thought I'd listen to this old classic because I vaguely remembered teaching it before. I was getting it mixed up with Rappacini's Daughter, but I guess they both have the same theme of : 'don't mess with mother nature' or 'nobody's perfect; get over it.' Anyway, it was stilted and dated but short enought that it didn't matter!
Jan 02, 2015 Brittany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked this story, however I have some problems with it. To start with, I think Aylmer is a fucking moron. After all his attempts to remove Georgiana's birthmark from her face, she is dying. But he does nothing to try to save her. The signs of her dying are there yet he ignores them. He is successful in removing the birthmark though, but what good is that now? He has killed Georgiana with his obsession with beauty. He is focused solely on removing that birthmark because without it, he believes ...more
Mallika Soni
"She hoped that for just one moment she could satisfy her husband's highest ideals. But she
realized then that his mind would forever be on the march, always requiring something
newer, better and more perfect."
Dec 11, 2013 Safae rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english
perfection is far away from the human nature.
that being said , I thought that (view spoiler).
Feb 22, 2012 stacey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
An interesting idea, but I was disappointed, why couldn't he just love his wife as she was?
May 12, 2015 Joe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
6.5/10. nice mixture of science and human vanity
Olivia Le roux
Dec 04, 2015 Olivia Le roux rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't quite read this willingly (read school assignment) but I was surprised how much I enjoyed it and how much it got me thinking. As a student of the sciences myself, and constantly thinking about our desire for perfection, this gave me a new look on the race for perfection. I actually find that I enjoy imperfections, and that they are what draw my attention to a person.

How about we stop our obsession with perfection and start seeing the imperfections around us for what they are - a sign of
Prashant Mudgal
Dec 15, 2015 Prashant Mudgal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I knew about Nathaniel Hawthorne through The scarlet letter but coldplay's song The scientist made me read this short story aka small piece of literature. The story about a man's obsession with perfection and rejection of 'best the earth could offer' draws many questions to the mind.
Aylamar like most other people in daily life realized what he has lost on losing Georgiana in his pursuit of so called perfection and his scientific studies.
Sep 16, 2015 Deedra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This short story by Nathanial Hawthorne was well written.Paul Woodson does a nice job narrating.A husband loves his flawless wife,well she has one flaw,a birthmark on her face.She will let him work his magic to try to get rid of it for his sake.Sometimes things should be left alone!

"I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review via AudiobookBlast or MalarHouse dot com"
Erika B. (SOS BOOKS)
Okay so mainly this is about a husband who becomes so obsessed with the ugliness of his wife's birth mark on her face that he takes to his lab and starts doing some crazy experiments that would be able to remove the birth mark! And the wife, Georgiana, submits to all of his experiments because she is the perfect model of domesticity! Truly a messed up thriller!
Stephanie Rivera
Sep 26, 2015 Stephanie Rivera rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hawthorne truly brings to the forefront the controversies surrounding his time and this wrote a timeless short stories since many of those controversies still exist. He paints a picture of a man so in love with Science that he is willing to pay any cost to further achieve its greatness
Tim Rohr
The vanity moral and science/nature aspect was really interesting. I just found the idea of the wife risking her life so her appearance would be more aesthetically pleasing to her husband was too far fetched. I get it is probably a sign of the times but it doesn't hold up as well anymore.
Jul 20, 2013 Bryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hawthorne fans, science fiction and fantasy fans
Recommended to Bryn by: Coursera Science Fiction and Fantasy course
The Birthmark is a short story by Hawthorne that really illustrates his distrust in science, and the dangers of pursuing perfection. While I got a strong "science vs spirituality" vibe from this short story at first, as I continued reading that view shifted. Hawthorne didn't see science or spirituality as the enemy. What he truly distrusts and fears is obsessive perfectionism. Georgiana was absolutely beautiful, with or without that "fairy hand"--Aylmer's assistant Aminadab confirms this by sayi ...more
James Biser
Dec 10, 2015 James Biser rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hawthorne writes well. It was interesting to see a couple suddenly consumed with the necessity to cure the wife of a birthmark with science. They become obsessed with something that was not even worth discussing before they brought it up almost casually.
The subject matter is pretty fascinating. How far will we go for ultimate beauty? But I hate the fact that the main character was so annoying about it, I suppose though that's what makes it more compelling and easier to remember the message
Jan 08, 2015 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was very reminiscent of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. If you're in to dark gothic tales, you should totally check this one out. It was a quick and fast read; then again it is a short story.
Dani (The Pluviophile Reader)
This story was both fascinating and horrifying at the same time.

The story is written at the emergence of the scientific method and Aylmer is man, like many in his day, obsessed with science. I feel that the presence of the birthmark on his wife's face and his obsession and revulsion with it is a statement to how women were valued in terms of their outward appearance. It was hard to read Georgina's reactions to her husbands opinion on her birthmark as it showed just how much these superficial va
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Nathaniel Hawthorne was a 19th century American novelist and short story writer. He is seen as a key figure in the development of American literature for his tales of the nation's colonial history.

Shortly after graduating from Bowdoin College, Hathorne changed his name to Hawthorne. Hawthorne anonymously published his first work, a novel titled Fanshawe, in 1828. In 1837, he published Twice-Told T
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