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Birthmark


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Allegorical tale by Hawthorne, published in Mosses from an Old Manse (1846).

Aylmer, a scientist, marries Georgiana, a beautiful woman whose single physical flaw is a tiny crimson birthmark on her left cheek, resembling a hand. The mark repels Aylmer, who determines to use his scientific knowledge to remove it. Assisted by his rude, earthy servant, Aminadab, he unsuccessfully tries every known method, finally using a powerful potion which, although it causes the birthmark to fade, causes her death also. Aminadab laughs, and the author concludes:Thus ever does the gross fatality of earth exult in its invariable triumph over the immortal essence which, in this dim sphere of half-development, demands the completeness of a higher state.

Thus ever does the gross fatality of earth exult in its invariable triumph over the immortal essence which, in this dim sphere of half-development, demands the completeness of a higher state.

Subjects: Literature.


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