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Man vs Nature in Hawthornes The Birthmark and Jack Londons To Build a Fire - Essay Example

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High school
Pages 3 (753 words)


The 'man' in Jack London's story "To Build a Fire" and Aylmer the "man of science" in Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Birthmark" both appear extremely foolish in considering themselves superior to nature. Aylmer, the man of science, is a genius whose pride leads him to believe that he can improve upon nature's creation…

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Man vs Nature in Hawthornes The Birthmark and Jack Londons To Build a Fire

The point is that although man cannot hope to overcome nature, some men are foolhardy enough to try. Such men usually get adequate warning and advice, and if they choose to ignore these, they are doomed.
Hawthorne reveals that some scientists of Aylmer's time believed that they could rob the secret of creation from Nature, but he only wonders whether "Aylmer possessed this degree of faith in man's ultimate control over Nature." Anyway, Aylmer is so blinded by his learning that he believes that he can correct an error of Nature. The 'error' referred to is nothing more than a tiny birthmark on the otherwise perfect face of his beloved wife Georgiana. Aylmer has been warned in a dream that an attempt to remove the mark could place the life of his beloved in danger. Yet, led on by his confidence in his skills and the power of Science, or pulled by Fate, Aylmer decides to remove the birthmark. Georgiana supports her husband in this experiment because she prefers even death to the possession of a face that could 'shock' or disgust her husband. She has great faith in her husband's knowledge and abilities. When he assures her that he could remove the birthmark, she encourages him, without of any thought of the danger to herself.
Aylmer is assisted in the operation by Aminadab, who with "his vast strength, his shaggy hair, his smoky aspect, and the indescribable earthiness that incrusted hi ...
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