Aylmer's pursuit of perfection is both tragic and allegorical. The irony of Aylmer's obsession and pursuit is that he was a man whose "most splendid successes were almost invariably failures." Rather than obsessing over correcting his failures, he quickly forgets them. Similarly, instead of obsessing over Georgiana's splendid beauty, he quickly forgets it. That a man of so many failures would be trying to perfect someone else is both ironic and allegorical. This type of story has biblical symmetry to Jesus's "Sermon on the Mount." In Matthew 7:3, Christ is quoted as saying, "Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?" This similarity cannot be overlooked and can be analyzed as an indictment of the remnants of Puritan culture in New England at the time. Rather than focusing on their own failures, they instead made a life of pointing out the mistakes and flaws of others, regardless of whether they truly existed. [ citation needed ] The "Birth-Mark" is a morality tale and indictment of Puritan culture. Aylmer's unyielding pursuit to remove the one "flaw" from Georgiana shows his own blindness of conscience. Similarly, Puritans separated themselves from everything and everyone with beliefs contrary to their own.  Some critics contend that the theme of the story is that human perfection can only be achieved in death and is, therefore, unattainable in life. Her death is foreshadowed in Aylmer's dream of cutting out the mark, in which he discovers the birthmark is connected to Georgiana's heart, which he elects to cut out as well in his attempt to remove the birthmark.
He uncovered the vase, and threw the faded rose into the water which it contained. At first, it lay lightly on the surface of the fluid, appearing to imbibe none of its moisture. Soon, however, a singular change began to be visible. The crushed and dried petals stirred, and assumed a deepening tinge of crimson, as if the flower were reviving from a death-like slumber; the slender stalk and twigs of foliage became green; and there was the rose of half a century, looking as fresh as when Sylvia Ward had first given it to her lover. It was scarcely full blown; for some of its delicate red leaves curled modestly around its moist bosom, within which two or three dewdrops were sparkling.
43. With your analysis of Aylmer’s achievements as a scientist in mind, speculate on why the narrator in paragraph 1, sentence 5 asserts that he does not know if Aylmer believed science can control nature.
The narrator cannot assume that Aylmer believes in science’s ability to control nature because he knows that there is little in Aylmer’s experience to suggest it can. Aylmer has spent a career trying to understand and control nature, yet he judges that career a failure. He came to understand the limits of science when, studying the human body, he realized how thoroughly nature defends its secrets from even the most learned inquiry.