How does Alymer in “The Birthmark” show the conflict between science and religion in Hawthorne’s era?

  • Do you think Georgiana knew she was going to die after reading Aylmer’s portfolio of experiments?  Or did she truly have faith in her husband to remove “the hand”?
  • How does the setting of “Young Goodman Brown” function symbolically?
  • Hawthorne throws a wrench in the end of “Young Goodman Brown” by implying it could have been a dream. Do you think he was dreaming, or was it real? Does this matter? Why or why not?
  • In “The Minister’s Black Veil,” how does the veil affect the townspeople’s perception of him? How does it affect his fiancée?
  • Would it make a difference is Hooper himself told the story in first person? What might we learn?
  • “Young Goodman Brown”
    • Background: Salem witch trials
  • “The Birthmark”
    • Background: the Enlightenment struggle between science and faith
  • “The Minister’s Black Veil”
    • Background: American Gothic

MODEL ANSWER 

The Birthmark” centers around the conflict between science and religion. Aylmercan PLACE ORDER FOR COMPLETE AND CUSTOMIZED ANSWER accept Georgiana as nature made her, and instead feels driven to use his scientific knowledge to erase what he sees as nature’s PLACE ORDER FOR COMPLETE AND CUSTOMIZED ANSWER. The birthmark on Georgiana’s face is, by definition, a mark that PLACE ORDER FOR COMPLETE AND CUSTOMIZED ANSWER in the womb. It is an entirely PLACE ORDER FOR COMPLETE AND CUSTOMIZED ANSWER occurrence, and the narrator implies that the mark PLACE ORDER FOR COMPLETE AND CUSTOMIZED ANSWER for a reason – to keep Georgiana imperfect enough to remain an earthly PLACE ORDER FOR COMPLETE AND CUSTOMIZED ANSWER.

However, Aylmer worships PLACE ORDER FOR COMPLETE AND CUSTOMIZED ANSWER and does not hesitate to use his skills to tamper with nature’s creations. Even before becoming fixated on the birthmark, PLACE ORDER FOR COMPLETE AND CUSTOMIZED ANSWER changes the natural life cycle of plants and considers how to make an elixir of life, which would make the drinker immortal. Aylmer himself is aware of the PLACE ORDER FOR COMPLETE AND CUSTOMIZED ANSWER relationship between science and nature – he tells Georgiana that even though he probably could create an elixir of life, he doesn’t do so because it would go against nature. However, his vanity over his wife’s appearance seems to blind him to PLACE ORDER FOR COMPLETE AND CUSTOMIZED ANSWERdanger in his experimentation with the birthmark. Normally, Aylmer excludes all signs of nature from his laboratory, even replacing natural PLACE ORDER FOR COMPLETE AND CUSTOMIZED ANSWER with chemical lamps. At the moment the birthmark disappears, PLACE ORDER FOR COMPLETE AND CUSTOMIZED ANSWER, he opens a curtain and sunlight falls on Georgiana. And it is then, in the true light of nature rather than through the limited vision of PLACE ORDER FOR COMPLETE AND CUSTOMIZED ANSWER, that it is revealed that she must die…………………..

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