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September 26 2000 The Birthmark Nothing in this world is perfect Our flaws are what make us the beautiful and unique people that we are They give us our personality and allow us to stand out from the crowd Without them our world would be boring Perfection is a standard that no one could ever live up to and the more perfect someone may be the less of a personality they may have The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a story about a young beautiful woman with a minor flaw that leads to the destruction of her life in the center of Georgianas left cheek there was a singular mark deeply interwoven as it were with the texture and substance of her face Hawthorne 278 Hawthorne writes about the womans crimson hand-shaped birthmark This simple flaw leads to her husbands and her own deadly obsession with perfection In reading The Birthmark and the two commentaries Judith Fetterleys 8220 A Feminist Reading of The Birthmark which explains how this story is about physical perfection obsession sexism and acceptance and James Quinn and Ross Baldessarinis A Psychological Reading of The Birthmark a psychologists view of the story as being about obsessive-compulsive behavior and sexuality I have decided that I agree with Fetterleys interpretation Fetterley and I agree that The Birthmark displays the ideas of sexism and power idealism and obsession 2 One cannot imagine this story in reverse-that is a womans discovering an obsessive need to perfect her husband and deciding to perform experiments on him-nor can one imagine the story being about a mans conceiving such an obsession for another man Fetterley 313 Fetterley writes about this story Most women arent as concerned with physical appearance as most men We tend to look at the person as a whole rather than just their physical aspects This story shows how a man in this case Aylmer can have control over a
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