Romantic art was all about engaging emotions and individualistic perceptions. Romantic writers of literature who were considered rebels from science or what was referred to as the age of reason. The age of reason practitioners did not think emotions were so necessary for presentations. Romantic plots thereby seek to promote the idea that there is not anything more powerful than human emotions and nature. Romanticism was basically a reminder to the people that there is nothing more powerful than the beauty of nature, supernatural, and strong emotions. The literature text, "The Birthmark," is a romantic period text. The text significantly represents the importance of emotions through activities like marriage and a wedding. Unlike romantic literature texts, the plot of the text warns on the effects of an obsession of love, nature, and science. The plot of the text uniquely distinguishes that obsession of both ages of reasoning which is dependent on science and obsession of human emotions; like love is similarly very dangerous. The plot analyzes romantic ideals but warns on obsession. It also analyzes science ideals and warns about scientific obsession. In this analysis, the focus is to discuss how the plot of the text, "The Birth Mark" presents the conflicting idea of science and romance amidst the assumption that the text is a text in support of the romantic ideologies.
The Importance of Emotions in Romanticism
Right from the exposition part of the plot the text provides the ideology that one has to abandon science or emotions at the expense of the other. A protagonist has to believe in one of the two ideologies in order to be successful in different live endeavors. A believer of either end only perishes. At the beginning of the text, the plot the audiences are exposed to Aylmer, a scientist obsessed with science. He, however, cannot carry through with his science projects because he has to be emotional to fall in love with the woman she wants to marry. The abolition of his science laboratory projects in dedication to their wedding and marriage is the first indication that the death of science is the beginning of romance in terms of emotions and individualism and the vice versa is also true. The conflict of what is strong between the power of science and the power of emotions is such a topic which most literary writers have exploited. In the plot of the text, "The Birth Mark," the exposition part presents us with the conflict out rightly.
Conflict of Ideals: Science vs. Romance
The conflict between science and romance is elevated at the rising action part of the plot. After the marriage of the Aylmer and Georgiana, the couples are forced to move to the apartment where Aylmer has a laboratory. It is a move by Aylmer so that he can continue with his stunning scientific discovery. In the text, it is explained that "Aylmer has made stunning discoveries about volcanoes, fountains, mines and several other natural wonders (Hawthorne 1)". Such a statement explains how Aylmer is a great scientist. During the rising action, the fainting of Georgiana at the shuddering of her love Aylmer is a show that romance and science are uncomplimentary (Hawthorne 6). It is also a fore-shadow of what is to take place in the future if science continues to conflict with emotions and individualism as proposed by romanticists. It is at this point in the plot that obsession with science and love is exploited. His love for Georgiana makes him want the perfect face for her without the birthmark.
Exposition: Science and Emotions at Odds
On the other hand, his obsession with science advises his belief that science could solve his birthmark problem. As an audience, at this point, we begin questioning the real motive behind the couples moving to the new apartment. Although the author might present it as a sign of love so that the couples stay together, the plot represents otherwise. The plot defines the motive of the couples moving to the apartment as an easier way of Aylmer testing his cure scientific experiments on Georgiana. Moving into the apartment that has the laboratory helps Aylmer to have his scientific projects moving on quite well, at the sight of the love of his life. Apart from having the two most important things in his life at his disposal, the plot presents the character Aylmer as someone who sees the moving in as an opportunity to convince his spouse into accepting his scientific test to removing the birthmark. Georgiana is against the idea that Aylmer can use science to remove her birthmark. She is of the idea that his love for her should enable him to see the birthmark as something beautiful, something that Aylmer is not willing to let go of. To convince his wife of his scientific abilities, he presents most of the scientific adversaries that he proposes will present a solution to removing the birthmark.
Climax: Obsession and Tensions Intensify
The climax of the plot presents a tensed series of events where Aylmer is secretly submitting potions to Georgiana. The purpose of the scientific potions is to help remove the birthmark from her face. He can not reveal his plan to Georgiana knowing that she is against science. Georgina is a believer in love. For her love is enough to solve their problems. According to her, the undying love Aylmer confesses to Georgina is enough to make him overlook the birthmark. However, the obsession of science that Aylmer has makes him think that he can solve his love problems with it. Georgina's belief of love makes her realize a flaw in the scientific adversaries of Aylmer. The introduction of the flaw at the climax of the plot explains further the limits to which the tensions are getting tighter. The conflict between romance and science is exceedingly getting interesting. Firstly, she discovers that the achievements of Aylmer always fall short of the goals that he initially sets. Her love for him makes her overlook such a finding. She also overlooks her discovery based on the accounts of his studies (Hawthorne 11). She also makes the discovery that she has secretly been taking potions placed secretly in her food by her husband Aylmer (Hawthorne 11). Her simple belief in the husband makes her really not to think about the effects of the potions in her body.
Falling Action: Softening Hearts and Acceptance
At the falling action part of the plot the story presents an analysis where Possessed by love, Georgiana thinks about how noble it is that her husband has no bad intentions but only wants to get the best out of her. In her mind, her husband only wants an ideal version of her. It is at this point in the plot that Georgina softens her heart to begin believing in a scientific solution to solve an emotional dilemma. On the other hand, the scientific belief of Aylmer continues as he continues coming up with various discoveries on how the birthmark on the face of her wife can be erased. He even goes ahead to come up with the finding that the birth is not on the surface but goes deep into her body and, therefore, needs a stronger potion to remove it. The falling action part of the plot where Georgiana softens her heart to accept the scientifically made solutions by her husband contributes to the conflict between romance and science. This part of the plot introduces the audience to the kind of danger that one puts themselves through by accepting a bit of love and science. Acceptance of both science and romance is obsessive in nature which is hazardous to humans.
Resolution: Obsession Leads to Perishing
Finally, at the resolution part, we are exposed to how the conflict between romance and science is obsessive and leads to perishing. Accepting both ideals makes one vulnerable and they can easily perish. The moment Georgiana is convinced that the potion which cures geranium of blots will heal her; she has fallen into the trap of the conflict between science and romance. After drinking the liquid, it becomes obsessive of her and she sleeps. For Aylmer the love she has for her wife makes him watch her wife sleep with tenderness. His obsession with science makes him feel like he is watching a scientific experiment unfold. He is filled with pleasure as the birthmark fades gradually (Hawthorne 14). Georgiana wakes up and through the mirror she finds out her birthmark is faded. She falls down dead after whispering to Aylmer that, "He could not accept the best the world could offer" (Hawthorne 14). The tragic end of Georgiana is a show of how the conflict between science and romance always ends in nothing good. Georgiana's statement as she dies is a lesson to the audience to avoid scientific obsession but appreciate nature the way they are. The best that nature offers is a romantic statement that stresses the ideas of the romantic period.
In conclusion, the plot of the literature text, 'The Birth Mark," in each of the six parts presents an anticlimax where science and romance come into conflict. From the exposition to the resolution, the plot presents a situation where science and romance are battling for space in the different characters. To avoid presenting which is superior between science and romance the plot ends tragically. The main character perishes after choosing to endorse both battling powers.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The birthmark. Alex Catalogue, 1996. Retrieved from: https://cambridge.ua/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/birthmark.pdf
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