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Step one Fling Away Happiness for Momentary Passion (the Painted Door and the Birthmark)

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Essay title: Step one Fling Away Happiness for Momentary Passion (the Painted Door and the Birthmark)

Motivation is the driving force behind all actions and reactions. In both Sinclair Ross’s “The Painted Door” and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark” motivation is the central influence behind decisions made by the characters. It causes a dilemma that invokes an action which eventually leads to the tragically ironic conclusions.

One cannot attend to the topic of the motivation of characters without knowing a bit about the characters themselves. The central female character in “The Painted Door”, Ann, is struggling for inner satisfaction and happiness in her marriage. Her name is used only once in the literary work illustrating that she has very little individuality; she feels she is simply an extension of her husband, John. Her motivation is caused by her selfish attitude and propensity to focus on John’s flaws; this derives from her desire for John to change. As a farmer’s wife she feels an increasing isolation, especially during winter months with “the silence weighing upon her” (Ross 139) and “the clock [that] tick[s] on like a glib little idiot” (166). Ann’s perception of John and her isolation motivates her decision to sleep with Steven. “The Birthmark’s” central character, Aylmer, is a recently married scientist. He is an inventor of exotic potions and a philosopher of scientific knowledge. After the marriage, eliminating the only imperfection, a tiny mysterious hand shaped birthmark, on his young wife, Georgiana, preoccupies him. His daily intensifying obsession eventually consumes his wife as well, leading to the isolation of Georgiana when he attempts to remove the “odious hand” (Hawthorne 37). Although the characters and situations in both short stories are profoundly different, each motivation stems from a desire to change their respective partners. Each character is forced to choose between two options set before them by their motivation.

The dilemmas, developed from the motivation, compel the characters to resolve their conflicts. In “The Painted Door”, Ann is struggling in a violent tumult of mental and emotional anguish and trying to find importance in life. The conflict arises in her decision to gratify one of two goals; immediate satisfaction, sleeping with Steven, or long term satisfaction, the love and support of her faithful dependable husband. Ann also faces a conflict between a social need and an emotional need. Initially with John she feels she can’t connect to society because “John never talks… [He] never

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