Control and Toxic Love in The Birthmark

Since the beginning of writing, Love has always been a topic of discussion. Love can drive you to do crazy things without even thinking twice. It is found in many different writings in American Literature such as: “Romeo and Juliet” By: Shakespeare and “The Great Gatsby” By: F. Scott Fitzgerald . Two important readings that we read throughout this semester are: “The Birth-Mark” By: Nathaniel Hawthorme and “My dear and loving husband” By: Susan Bradstreet. Both of these short stories are perfect examples on how love can push us to go to extreme measures.

This idea of perfection consists of many things. It consists of no flaws, and no issues. It seems to be focused on throughout our lives at one time or another. The constant shower of social media images such as plastic beauty, perfect hair, perfect nose, etc.., with a fake image of a picture-perfect existence.

The idea of perfectionism is not realistic and would never occur in real life.

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The idea of perfectionism puts a pressure on many people in todays' society to change their natural beauty to be socially accepted. This clear idea of perfectionism is shown throughout the poem. In todays’ society, everyone strives to be perfect and to be liked by others. If you do not have a certain look, or social status in society, you are viewed as an outsider. In society, it is hard to stay true to yourself due to the fear of being judged and viewed as differently. Many people have that fear of standing out in a crowd, so that leads them to strive to be perfect.

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Throughout the poem “The Birthmark”, Alymar wanted to perform surgery to remove Georgiana’s birth-mark in which he thought without it, she would be perfect.

Men have unrealistic expectations when it comes to looking at all types of women. Men often want a woman to look a certain way, such as looking like a model, but that it very far-fetched. Most men in society would often judge or make fun of a woman if she does not have the quality or trait in which he believes is perfect. This ignorance leads to poor and unfair judgement upon women. From my personal experience throughout college, I’ve noticed how some college men are very similar to Alymar. A few times from being out and about on campus, I’ve heard men talking about how one girl walking by was ‘pretty’ but she didn’t have the figure that they believe she should have. I believe that those men were totally wrong because everyone is beautiful in their own unique way. This passage makes it clear that even total perfection still wouldn’t satisfy Alymar.

One quote in which the birthmark symbolizes that everything dies and that attempting to be perfect is painful and difficult, is “It was the fatal flaw of humanity which nature…stamps ineffaceably on all her productions, either to imply that they are temporary and infinite, or that their perfection must be wrought by toil and pain.” One cannot simply live their life focusing all of their energy attempting to be perfect because eventually everyone dies. One should live their life how they want and do what makes them happy and not focus on being a people pleaser. This quote shows the literary element symbolism. Symbolism is the use of symbols to represent qualities. The quote also shows Aylmer’s quest for perfection.

Although he has managed to trick Georgiana into believing that she isn’t worthy of his affection, the narrator shows that Aylmer’s insistence on perfection is beyond crazy. Georgiana realizes that if she managed to satisfy his demands, her worth to him would last only for a brief moment. After that brief moment, he would want still more from her. The removal of the birthmark is something that is far-fetched, and the narrator makes it clear that Aylmer still wouldn’t be happy even if she’d didn’t have the birthmark on her cheek. His idea for flawlessness will never be found. I believe that you should be with someone who makes you feel flawless and beautiful every day, and makes you overlook your insecurities. I believe that if someone truly cares about you, you wouldn’t feel the urge to have to change things about yourself to only satisfy them. No one is perfect in this world, and the only thing that it close to perfect in society is staying true to yourself.

The human emotion of Love holds a deep meaning. The word ‘LOVE’ stands for Life’s’ Only Valuable Emotion. In life humans feel many various emotions weather it is anger, sadness, happiness and lastly love. The definition of Love is: An intense feeling of deep affection. This intense feeling of deep affection is shown throughout the poem: “My dear and loving husband” By: Susan Bradstreet. This poem offers readers an insight into puritan attitudes toward love, marriage, and God. One line in which love is shown is “I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold”. The meaning is conveyed about she loves her husband more than gold. Gold has the highest value out of material things in the world. You cannot buy love, or put a price on it. Her love for her husband is so strong the value of gold doesn’t compare to the value of love. She is thankful and appreciative of her husband and the love he gives back to her so she does see a value in material things such as gold, but the endless, deep, compassion, someone can give her.

Throughout the poem, Susan Bradstreet shows the literary element Imagery. She uses he talks about the “mines of gold” to portray her love for her husband. Gold mines are rare and there are only a certain amount of gold mines in the world, so she explains that her love that her and her husband both have for each other is rare. Gold does not have an emotional value in life but it represents the feeling of how she feels towards her husband because it holds a high value. Her love for her husband is valuable to her. Throughout the poem, Anne Bradstreet uses material wealth as a metaphor. She uses gold as a metaphor to have the readers create an image in their head on how valuable love can be for certain people.

Throughout the whole poem, she uses the deep meaning word: ‘LOVE’, when she talks about how she prizes her love for her husband more than the whole mines of gold. This poem portrays the idea that Gold simply cannot compare to love. She writes of her love and claims that her and her husband are one. In the Poem, the speaker is extremely happy and the tone of this poem creates a happy tone. “The Birth-Mark” By: Nathaniel Hawthorme and “My dear and loving husband” By: Susan Bradstreet both hold a few similarities and differences. The similarities that these two poems share are how love can push us to go to extreme measures. Both of these poems demonstrate the idea of two women that would go above and beyond for their husbands’ desires, wants, and needs because they both hold a deep feeling of love for them. When someone loves another person so deeply, the other person basically becomes their other half and makes them feel whole. In both poems, both women show how love is their first priority over anything throughout their life.

For example, In “The Birth-Mark”, Georgiana is willing to remove her birthmark, despite not wanting to at first, since her husband would only love her more than he originally does and view her only as a perfect if she had her birth mark if she didn’t have removed her birth mark, she wouldn’t be viewed as imperfect to her husband Alymar. In “My dear and loving husband”, the narrator explains how her love is so strong that even the highest value such as gold wouldn’t even compare to the love that she has for her husband. She explains how they are united as one and that in itself shows how love is her first priority. I personally believe that love should be a first priority like it is for Georgina and Bradstreet, because if you live your whole life without knowing or feeling love, you don’t learn how to appreciate people and animals and feel these types of emotions.

This Is the reason why they both chose love over anything, even if it means changing something about yourself. “The Birth-Mark” By: Nathaniel Hawthorme and “My dear and loving husband” By: Susan Bradstreet both hold a few differences. ‘My dear and loving husband” talks about religion, and “The Birth-Mark” does not. Susan Bradstreet ties religion within her story because she believes that it is important for love and religion to tie together. For example, the first few lines describe love with very subtle references to the Bible since the last line of the poem talks about love and how it is associated as the key to immortality. Another difference between these two poems are that in “The Birth-Mark”, Aylmer is pressuring Georgiana to remove her birth mark. Aylmer had a strong attempt to control human nature with cosmetic science.

In the end, only unhappiness and failed expectations came out of it. although these two stories are similar, they share their differences as well. When reading and discussing about these two stories similar, yet different stories a quote came to my mind. This quote: “Love does not die easily. It is a living thing.” - James D. Bryden. This quote relates to both “The Birth-Mark” and “My dear and loving husband”. Love does not die easily in both of these poems. Both of these women love their husbands so much that their love for them would never die. Love can really push us to go to extreme measures.

Updated: Feb 07, 2022
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Control and Toxic Love in The Birthmark. (2022, Feb 07). Retrieved from

Control and Toxic Love in The Birthmark essay
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