Aminadab in the birthmark. Meaning of Race and Whiteness in "The Birthmark" by Nathaniel Hawthorne: [Essay Example], 4962 words GradesFixer 2022-12-09
Aminadab in the birthmark Rating:
Aminadab is a minor character in Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "The Birthmark." Despite having a small role in the story, Aminadab plays a significant role in the events that unfold.
Aminadab is the assistant to the main character, a scientist named Aylmer, who is obsessed with removing a small, birthmark on his wife's cheek. The birthmark, which is described as a "crimson hand," is seen as a blemish on an otherwise perfect face and Aylmer becomes fixated on finding a way to remove it. In his pursuit of this goal, Aylmer enlists the help of Aminadab, who is described as a "dwarfish" man with a "dark, swarthy aspect."
Aminadab is initially skeptical of Aylmer's plan to remove the birthmark and warns him that it could have dangerous consequences. However, he ultimately agrees to assist Aylmer in his experimentation and becomes an integral part of the process. Aminadab helps Aylmer gather the necessary materials and provides assistance in the laboratory as they work to develop a solution to remove the birthmark.
Despite Aminadab's reservations and warnings, Aylmer is determined to go through with the procedure. He believes that the birthmark is a flaw that must be corrected in order to achieve perfection. However, things do not go as planned and the procedure ends in tragedy when Aylmer's wife, Georgiana, dies as a result of the treatment.
In the end, Aminadab serves as a foil to Aylmer, representing a more practical and grounded perspective in contrast to Aylmer's obsessive pursuit of perfection. While Aylmer is blinded by his desire to remove the birthmark, Aminadab is more cautious and aware of the potential risks and consequences of their actions.
Overall, Aminadab's role in "The Birthmark" serves as a reminder of the dangers of obsession and the importance of considering the potential consequences of our actions. While Aylmer's pursuit of perfection ultimately leads to tragedy, Aminadab's caution and skepticism serve as a counterbalance, reminding us of the importance of moderation and caution in our pursuits.
The Birthmark Summary & Analysis
Even so, it makes Georgiana love and respect her husband more than ever. I must pause briefly to address one possible critique of my reading thus far. How is aminadab described? The priest Aminadab in the Bible is a precursor to Moses, so his worship of Yahweh resembles, to some extent, pagan practice anthropomorphism of Yahweh, sacrificial ceremonies, etc. These books show that science has a long history of potential conflict with nature, and Aylmer is following in the footsteps of countless other men who thought they could control nature through science. Scholarship that has attempted to analyze Aminadab — specifically his name — has been widely unsuccessful.
This implies that Aminadab believes that Georgiana was born this way, and she is beautiful regardless of the birthmark. However, as time went on, the birthmark eventually starts bothering her, causing her to believe that she possesses flaws and is in need of fixing. Have you no trust in your husband? But as time passes, he becomes more and more obsessed with it. Particularly in his use of refrain, Poe emphasizes the hollowness of the words on the page — words that are incapable of replacing a human life. Thus, Aylmer turns to the beautiful Georgiana, who can reproduce his image through her offspring. This means that Aminadab's symbolic victory of the physical over the spiritual encompasses both husband and wife. She loves Aylmer more for his imperfections, even though he loves her less for hers.
Hawthorne's Aminadab: Sources and Significance on JSTOR
The opening introduces the central themes of the story, setting a scene in which scientists are already trying to control nature and claim dangerous power for themselves. I do think you're on the right track thinking about Aminadab in terms of anti-semitic stereotypes. Demonstrating the widespread fear of miscegenation, a mid-nineteenth century law ordered the sterilization of prisoners and mental patients. His eerie chuckles at the end of Aylmer's ill-fated experiment suggest that he is meant to represent a spiritual man who understands that man's place in life is not to place himself alongside God. How then are we to reconcile the two images of Aminadab, one as primitively religious, and one as an evil threat? Aylmer then asks Georgiana to sing for him, which she does, and her singing makes him happy. Hawthorne may have been criticizing the epoch of reform in which he was living, and specifically calling attempts at reform ineffective and the reformers dangerous.
However, Aylmer seems to be failing so far. He does not remember this dream until Georgiana asks about what his sleep-talking meant. Furthermore, Aylmer is obviously not as confident as he wants Georgiana to think he is. In fitting with the times, Georgiana never even considers confronting Aylmer about his damaging attitude, but instead thinks only of how to change herself to meet his desires. Furthermore, only words have survived, not the characters themselves. When Aylmer's assistant Aminadab is introduced, Hawthorne describes him as symbolizing the purely physical aspect of life, whereas Aylmer stands for the spiritual: With his vast strength, his shaggy hair, his smoky aspect, and the indescribable earthiness that incrusted him, he seemed to represent man's physical nature; while Aylmer's slender figure, and pale, intellectual face, were no less apt a type of the spiritual element.
Meaning of Race and Whiteness in "The Birthmark" by Nathaniel Hawthorne: [Essay Example], 4962 words GradesFixer
When she wakes, it takes Georgiana a moment to remember where she is, and she automatically covers the birthmark with her hand. The narrator observes of Aminadab that he seemed to represent man's physical nature; while Aylmer's slender figure, and pale, intellectual face, were no less apt a type of the spiritual element. He might be changing her very physical composition, but she seems fine with it, submitting entirely to his every whim. Aylmer seems oblivious to any such loss. Aminadab's second laugh, immediately after Georgiana dies, is described in the following terms: Then a hoarse, chuckling laugh was heard again! What Is a Protagonist? Aylmer sees only that he can now unite his love of science with his love of Georgiana.
How many characters are the birthmark? Aminadab, Aylmer's laboratory assistant, is described as being short and bulky with a shaggy appearance; Aylmer addresses him as "thou human machine" and "thou man of clay. When Aylmer remembers the details of his dream, Georgiana declares that she would rather risk her life having the birthmark removed from her cheek than to continue to endure Aylmer's horror and distress that comes upon him when he sees her. Georgiana replies that he has deceived her by pretending to be so confident in the treatment when he was actually very worried about it. Georgiana is awakened by the powerful fragrance in the beautiful room that her husband has prepared for her in his laboratory. I have already given this matter the deepest thought—thought which might almost have enlightened me to create a being less perfect than yourself. Aylmer is not satisfied with an earthly, ordinary love — he dreams of something greater. First, Aylmer attempts to prolong life with the Elixir Vitae.
A Bibliography of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Some have speculated that the mark came from a fairy touching Georgiana at the moment of her birth and giving her those most alluring qualities that allowed her to attract so many men. The daguerreotype of Georgiana is important on one hand because it identifies Aylmer and Georgiana as members of the middle class. Soon after, Aylmer brings her the potion, which he demonstrates as effective by rejuvenating a diseased plant with a few drops. Thus, when Aylmer snatches the metallic plate and throws it into a jar of corrosive acid, he responds to the visual threat that his offspring will not be purely white.
Aylmer enters carrying a glass of colorless liquid, anxious but claiming that the medicine is perfect. Lukasik suggests that Aylmer mistakes the object that is being seen the birthmark for his own way of seeing it. As the last crimson tint of the birthmark—that sole token of human imperfection—faded from her cheek, the parting breath of the now perfect woman passed into the atmosphere, and her soul, lingering a moment near her husband, took its heavenward flight. At the same time, religious faith was taking more of a backseat. Silver Cities: The Photography of American Urbanization, 1839-1915. Aylmer is impressed, and reveals that he has already been treating the birthmark, but to no avail. However, his reliance on science to prolong life proves to be problematic.