Recent Post

November 2, 2014

Allegory and Symbolism in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Birthmark

2:20 PM

The Birthmark written by Nathaniel is rife with symbols and allegory. With its theme foregrounding the obsession with human perfection, Hawthorne deftly dwells on issues such as gender relations, the association between creation and creator, feminine image and chivalry. Georgiana is the space where a hand would cultivate, plow, and work. The brand is the trace of the hand that travels through written symbols. That is to say, the writer's hand leaving the space blank sheet of writing a body, a body marked by the signs of its creation, namely writing.
In this sense The Birthmark is the mark of Hawthorne's literary creation itself. Georgiana body becomes fragmented and not comprehensive, because all writing, blackening occurs only in fragments, and also because all writing is incomplete to the extent that it has neither any definite beginning nor end. It is constituted by fragments, in small pieces attached to each other through the son of meanings, images, symbols.(Walsh, 258)
 If this body of writing is symbolized by the body of a woman, one can see the expression of the elusive nature of artists, both male and female, as if it was in their nature to be an impossibility individuals defined. Creation appears to be derived from the complementarity of opposing principles, the creation seems to take root from the union of opposites, and in case this form is absent, then the creation is assumed to be a complete, sufficient in itself. Mircea Eliade explains why the myth of the sacred marriage is not universal: it is because in societies where we do not find traces of this myth is found against him by the androgynous (Walsh, 200). While it is true that primitive man no creation can be done without the intervention of the sacred, then one can conclude that symbols are a manifestation of the creation of Hawthorne. Mark symbolically represents the author's writing. However, it describes itself as the brand symbol of imperfection: the symbol of imperfection.
The centerpiece idea in The Birthmark questions secretly, through these images the esoteric nature of God and of his creation, which in Hawthorne's vision is to be imperfect. In this story, the structure is designed imaging from many references to the myths and symbols as in alchemical philosophers of Nature as Cornelius Agrippa, Albertus Magnus, Paracelsus, or secret societies like the Rosicrucian’s, but also references to magic rituals and sacred rites, such as the passage of the "threshold", the initiation of the neophyte or allusions to concepts such as the heterogeneity of the space sacred and profane, or so many other references to the esoteric in general. (Weinstein, 48)

          The set of elements are contained in "birthmark" as the tale but also refers to the brand, in fact, Georgiana door in the middle of the left cheek. She is described as having the shape of a miniature hand and could be seen from the outset as the mark of the fatal condition of decay inherent in women. But the more we advance in the analysis of structures image narrative, that is to say, the possible symbolic meanings for "hand", examining its semantic field as well as its relationship with other symbols or relationships connections among "mind / matter" is related in one way or another, the more we see that the meaning of "brand" (Mark) and "birth" (birth) is more complex than announced in the allegorical narrative according to its design, namely the precept.( Eckstein, 511)
The "brand" of "birth" in the shape of a "hand", "miniature" (minute hand) and is colored "red" being the "center" of the "play" "left" "Georgiana "cheek is also compared to a" pink "sometimes" red ", sometimes" white "according to the moods of the young woman.
Aylmer appears as the representative of Nathaniel Hawthorne, his double sublimated image that behind the second describes himself as an artist, philosopher or creator. The first reflects the vision of the sacred world of the second, by the fact that it has a more intense, more meaningful world of non-human creator.
This view is opposed to the profane universe which assumes the role or the process or the research of the creator. In this design, the space is also sacred. The physical link is not homogeneous, as there is a break between the inside and the outside. The artist stood at the center of the world to develop his creation from the database. The center of the world is materialized by the laboratory and furnace, from which everything is organized and defined, even narration.
As an alchemist, Aylmer has the power to transform the physical space, as later he will speak about the physical body of Georgiana. The architect approaches and more of the Demiurge, as Aylmer can alter the structure of the body. These enchanted places, that is to say, who have a magical dimension, are causing a shift in the metaphysical space of Georgiana. It often refers to the theater in similar terms. Antonin Artaud proposes a reflection on the scene of all time and its meaning said, "the theater [...] causes in mind not only an individual, but of a people, the most mysterious alterations."( Howard, 533)
  The Alchemist's Laboratory, as any place enclosing secrets, mysteries and riches, has his guardian, who is here played by Amminadab. In fact, he never leaves the scene, because it plays the role of guardian of the threshold in the way of the dragon in the legend of the Golden Fleece or the Serpent in the Garden of the Hesperides, among others.
The word initiator appear, moreover, come not from the mouth of a man, the occurrence of Aylmer, but that of a woman, for indeed this is the opening sentence syntax directly linking with the door of the boudoir where two female symbols are contained. On the one hand, the door, and secondly, the boudoir is a "parlor lady where you can retreat to sulk," and therefore can be considered semantically that the boudoir is related with the woman. There is also a sense of pouting, that is to say, close the lips, open relationship, open with "boudoir" suggests that it would symbolically open mouth women to gain access to the revelation of the mystery. According to many traditions of magic, secrets are feminine and the opening of this woman's mouth marks the beginning of words, while making the transition to the open secrets.( Weinstein, 203)
Thus, among the images that come here weave the occult meaning of the passage, it appears that a burning vulva, wide open, like a woman during intercourse, most erotic image expressed by the terms and burn pastil. The first, in its proper sense is diamond-shaped incense, which is also a feminine symbol of its shape vulva where the erotic dimension is even more enhanced by the proximity of the second term burn.

The eroticism conveyed here has however a sacred value. Many pagans had sacred erotic rituals erotic in which it was customary to burn incense. All of these words: throw open, door, boudoir, and burn pastil would suggest that the door of the underworld is now open and the initiatory passage to Georgiana, the embryo to the womb of the world can now perform. Metaphorically, the exchanges between Heaven and Earth are possible at this time that is to say between mind and matter. Thus we note the many connotations present with the telluric myth of creation.(Howard, 202)
With the penetration of two characters in the laboratory, the attempt is made to enter into the mysteries of Nature, here also called Mother Earth, and access to revelation. All in all, the story toys with symbolism and imagery to bring forth significance of obsession with perfection.

Works Cited
Eckstein, Barbara. "Hawthorne's "The Birthmark": Science And Romance As Belief." Studies In Short Fiction 26.4 (1989): 511. 11 Nov. 2012.
Walsh, Conor. "Aminadab In Nathaniel Hawthorne's THE BIRTH-MARK." Explicator 67.4 (2009): 258. 11 Nov. 2012.
Howard, Jeffrey. "Nathaniel Hawthorne's THE BIRTH-MARK." Explicator 70.2 (2012): 133.. 11 Nov. 2012. 
Weinstein, Cindy. "The Invisible Hand Made Visible: `The Birth-Mark.'." Nineteenth-Century Literature 48.1 (2003): 44. 11 Nov. 2012.


Post a Comment