根据 Sigmund Fred 的精神分析理论，每个人的动机都是他或她的欲望、恐惧、需要和内在的潜意识冲突 (Tyson 75)。毫无疑问，艾尔默爱他的妻子。在故事的开头，霍桑写道“对科学的热爱在其深度和吸收能量上与女性的爱相媲美并不罕见”（385）。随后，霍桑详细描述了他的性格如此有缺陷，有着深刻的心理功能障碍问题，这是阿利默压倒一切的自恋型人格障碍。当他告诉乔治亚娜时，有很多支持的证据，‘啊，等待这一次成功。 . .如果你愿意，那就崇拜我吧。我将认为自己几乎不值得”（Hawthorne 393）。然而，当时并没有任何成功和事实证明他值得这种信任和崇拜，只有无数的失败。
在这部小说中，Alymer 扮演了一个固执且令人不快的角色。考虑到弗洛伊德关于自恋和超我的理论，认为 Alymer 发展中的超我的明显标志是基于他在“自我客体分化”中的经验（Tyson 75）。艾尔默对去除胎记的病态渴望实际上代表了他对自己追求完美的渴望，这是由他的强迫症引起的。也许他是想在妻子身上找到一些不完美的东西，让他感觉更好，因为胎记在婚前根本不会打扰他。The short novel ‘The Birthmark’ written by Nathaniel Hawthorne is about a married couple, Aylmer and his beautiful wife Georgiana. Shortly after marriage, Aylmer, the art scientist, got obsessed with the birthmark on wife Georgiana’s left cheek and considered it her only flaw that needed to be removed. Aylmer’s application all his scientific knowledge in changing nature and Georgiana’s submission to the operation of remove the one ‘symbol of imperfection’ all led to the death of her life, even though the remove of the mark succeeded. Hawthorne foreshadowed this sad result in many ways. This novel reveals the confliction between nature and science, as well as the obsessive-compulsive disorder in love.
According to Sigmund Fred’s psychoanalytical theories, every human being is motivated by his or her desire, fear, needs, and the subconscious conflicts within (Tyson 75). There is no doubt that Aylmer loves his wife. At the beginning of the story, Hawthorne wrote ‘not unusual for the love of science to rival the love of woman in its depth and absorbing energy’ (385). Then later, Hawthorne detailed described his character so flawed who had deep psychological dysfunctional problem, which is Alymer’s overriding narcissistic personal disorder. There is a lot of supporting evidence when he tells Georgiana, ‘Ah, wait for this one success . . . then worship me if you will. I shall deem myself hardly unworthy of it’ (Hawthorne 393). However, at that time, there was no success and facts that supported that he was worthy of this kind of trust and worship, but only abundant failures.
In this novel, Alymer servers as a stubborn and unpleasant character. Taking Freud's theory on narcissism and the superego into consideration, it is suggested that the clear sign of Alymer’s developing superego is based on his experience in ‘self-object differentiation’ (Tyson 75). Aylmer’s sick desire for removing the birthmark actually represents his desire to seek perfection for himself, which is caused by his obsessive-compulsive disorder. Maybe he is trying to find something unperfect on his wife to make him feel better, because the birthmark does not bother him at all before the marriage.
我们看不到霍桑故事的真正结局。艾尔默对妻子的死有何反应？他终于从错误中吸取教训了吗？然而，霍桑的小说不仅仅是给我们讲了一个故事，更是给我们上了一课，描述了自恋和痴迷的邪恶之心，以及人类试图用科学的方法控制自然的可怕后果。And later, his so-said belief in science to be able to cure the flaw on Georgiana’s face is the vivid evidence that Aylmer tends to use emotional displacement. Aylmer said to Georgiana that when the birthmark does not arise the men’s interest and admiration, it belongs to the category of flaws and needs to be gone as the ‘masculine observers’ want so that the women receive their ideal loveliness (Hawthorne 387). However, no other men have ever campaigned about Georgiana’s mark. On the contrary, they found it so attractive. Aylmer’s fear of lacking masculine dominance in the marriage leads to his deep obsession of the removal of one flaw on Georgiana’s face. Pursuing ultimate control over his wife becomes Aylmer’s sole conscious desire. It is clear that the birthmark is actually not the problem, but an excuse for his control.
Based on the Freudian concept of displacement, the transfer of desire proves that Aylmer is not perfect himself. Maybe it is because of his failure in science, or his lack of masculinity. For example, when describing Georgiana’s observation on her husband’s work, Hawthorne wrote that comparing to what Alymer has accomplished in terms of his thoughts and ideas, Georgiana ‘could not but observe that his most splendid successes were almost invariably failures’ (393).
Even though Georgiana is a rational and wise woman, her defense and concerns cannot change Aylmer’s mind. In fact, Georgiana’s refuse only activated Alymer’s psychological defense, screaming at Georgiana, ‘have you no trust in your husband?’ (Hawthorne 394). The gender bias is severe. Georgiana tries to hint Alymer that this mark is connected to her life, but Alymer is stubborn and keeps complaining about how awful the birthmark is without telling her the danger and risk of removing it. Finally, Georgiana’s love for Alymer and fear of an unhappy marriage make her submissive to the husband’s continuous tests and performances to remove the mark. Even the cost is her own death, Georgiana also shows relief and happiness because the birthmark is removed and her husband’s desire is pleased (Hawthorne 395). The tragedy of Georgiana happens also because Aylmer didn’t feel a little bit guilty when he failed and his ego and obsession overpowered his feeling of guilt and rational mind. Unavoidably, Aylmer’s inability to get rid of the sick obsession with Georgiana’s birthmark led to the death of his near perfect life.
Gender bias is even common in modern society. How many people want to act as “God” and perfect things that nature? How many women go through cosmetic surgery to make themselves seem more beautiful to man? There are still a large number of women having the desires to be submissive and please men. Learning from this novel ‘The Birthmark,’ it is necessary for women to act rationally with their own thoughts and not try to please man as it is not required for woman to respond to men’s ludicrous desire. In addition, when love or so-called desire becomes an obsession, it is dangerous. Aylmer’s sick obsession with science, religion, and perfection of Georgiana’s birthmark overpower the love to his wife. It is hard to distinguish that the purpose of him spending time with his wife is for love or just for his observation and experiment, which in the end kills her.
We don’t see the actual end of Hawthorne’s story. How does Aylmer react to his wife's death? Does he finally learn from his mistake? However, Hawthorne’s novel is not only to tell us a story, but also teach us a lesson by describing an evil heart of narcissism and obsession, as well as the awful consequences when man tries to control nature using the methods of science.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. “The Birthmark.” The Norton Introduction to Literature (Shorter 13th Edition). Ed. Mays, Kelly J. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. 2016. Print.
Tyson, P., and R. L. Tyson. "Narcissism and Superego Development." Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 32.1(1984):75-98.