"The Birthmark:" or Rejection of Puritan Society .
The article "Birthmarks and Bioethics" by Nick Gillespie challenges the role of "The Birthmark" by Nathaniel Hawthorne by insinuating that the short story is a mere scratch of the surface for more important bioethical issues. Gillespie argues that Hawthorne's approach to bioethics remain in the interest of what was available and known at the time of his life, but that by today's standards more depth should be expected of a piece before it becomes used as an example of bioethics. Gillespie is interested in bioethical advances that may better human life by treating diseases and serious genetic mutations rather than the views of his predecessors who were interested in bioethics as a solution for mere cosmetic imperfections. It may be true that Hawthorne was interested in writing about the use of bioethics for perfecting the human race but when the research is done it becomes apparent why. It seems that Hawthorne was, as most of us are, a creature of his surroundings, mimicking the culture in which he was raised, (and eventually condemning it) and abiding by the wishes of the government that ruled at the time "The Birthmark" was written.
Born on July 4, 1808 into the "race of the clearest Puritan strain" (James 6), Hawthorne is part of the Salem family's sixth generation. His ancestors include Puritan magnates, judges, and seamen, so it is apparent that his family was full of people striving for excellence (Encyclopedia .
of World Biography). It is obvious that Hawthorne was raised in a very restrictive, repressive, and socially constrictive society of the Puritans who "shunned, insulted, exiled, or tortured to .
death any one that fell outside of their 'appropriate' role in society" (The Puritan Society). This restrictive culture of the Puritan society sparked Hawthorne's approach to the removal of "The Birthmark." This would explain the concept behind "The Birthmark" as being a story about the author himself, and an example of what he would do if he were granted a wife who was anything less than perfect.