Gender, religious, economic or social class aspects in the development of a specific character’s identity
Each person is unique, that’s why we should respect other person’s world-views and opinions and take them into account. Such attitude will help both to broaden our personal horizon and develop some person’s identity. According to Gines (2003), one’s family is the most important source for creating person’s identity (p. 85).
We get acquainted with Aylmer and his wife Georgina in a short story The Birthmark written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. We can observe their relationships and see how Aylmer’s point of view, his ambitions and desires influence and change Georgina. Aylmer suggests an idea to remove a birthmark from his wife’s cheek.
We can see a gender aspect in this case because Georgina changes her own attitude towards her birthmark under the influence of her husband’s opinion. At the beginning of the story, she says about it as about a special charm, then, it becomes a “hateful mark” and “a burden” for her. She yields to Aylmer’s opinion and becomes an experiment, a puppet in the hands of Aylmer. Georgina loses not only her birthmark, but her uniqueness and identity.
However, according to Nancy L. Bunge (1993), the suggestion of Aylmer also inspires her to “mediate a formidable battle between self-esteem and self-hate” (p. 29). But her power of will is not enough to understand her uniqueness and accept it. The short story also deals with Aylmer’s fight against nature that affects and destroys his wife.
He succeeds to remove Georgina’s birthmark, but loses in his war against nature because Aylmer understands that he destroys the thing that he loved in Georgina. Laurie A. Sterling (2007) mentions that “Hawthorne was keenly interested in religion and related questions of sin” (p. 172). That’s why this story also touches religious aspect that rests the responsibility of killing Georgina on Aylmer.
Personal experience where you encounter identity issues similar to those encountered by the character
It is one of the most difficult problems in the family and relationships between man and woman when someone tries to change the others. I’ve seen a lot of families that were destroyed because one of the spouse could not accept the other’s individuality. However, I think people should understand that when they meet, they fall in love with a person taking into account all his/her advantages and disadvantages. Perhaps, people should accept that the aim to live together is not to change a beloved one according to your wishes.
It is said that love is a real art, and people should learn hard to master it and create a strong family. I’ve seen a good example how person realized that it is necessary to accept one’s spouse as he/she is. A man was ready to divorce with his wife because he thought that he hated everything in her, the way she dressed, her behavior, her manner of talking. Even her presence became unbearable to him. But the day, he decided to break with her, he found out that she was mortally ill.
He stayed with her because it was too severe to treat a sick person in such a way. The husband decided to do everything to make her last days be unforgettable. He surrounded her with his love and suddenly fell in love again. He understood that everything that was irritating him in her during the last time were the reasons that made him fall in love with her at their first meeting.
That’s why we should be careful when we try to influence some person. Perhaps, there is no need to change the last one at all. I consider we should respect other person’s uniqueness and encourage him/her to develop his best sides establishing his identity. When people live in harmony with themselves and world that surrounds them, they can enjoy their lives and make other people happy.
Bunge, N. L. (1993). Nathaniel Hawthorne: a study of the short fiction. New York : Twayne Publishers.
Gines, A. C. (2003). General psychology (2003 ed.). Philippine: Rex Book Store, Inc.
Sterling, Laurie A. (2007). Bloom’s how to write about Nathaniel Hawthorne. New York: Infobase Publishing.