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The Birthmark Summary
In the story of “The Birthmark”, the narrator introduces Aylmer, a brilliant scientist, and his wife Georgiana. Aylmer loves his wife, but she has a small birthmark on the side of her left cheek that he despises.
Aylmer becomes obsessed with Georgiana’s birthmark. He seems to be the only person who finds the mark disturbing. His wife along with the rest of the townspeople find Georgiana to be beautiful. Yet, Aylmer says that her almost perfect face is what makes the mark so shocking. Eventually he wears Georgiana down and she agrees to allow him to attempt removing it.
The couple moves to his apartment where he performs his scientific experiments. As Georgiana studies the various aspects of her husband's profession she finds herself captivated by what he can do. Although, she reads his journals and finds out that all his experiments never quite reach their full goal.
Without hesitation Aylmer comes up with a potion which he believes will cure Georgiana and make her perfect. She drinks the potion and the mark fades; however, she too fades with the mark. Upon her death the readers is left with the blunt reality that man is flawed and the sin of perfection leads to death.
Essential Questions for “The Birthmark”
- What is perfection? Do you think it exists in the world?
- What are some things in life that you cannot take back?
- How do good authors use allegories to make their point known to their readers?
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