Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Birth-Mark,” English 130, Spring 2021

Assignment (10 points): Read and annotate Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “The Birth-Mark.”

You are responsible for writing three annotations (50-75 words each) and responding to two annotations (25-50 words each) from your peers.

Your annotations should evince thoughtful engagement with the text, be analytical in nature, and address two or more of the following questions concerning the workings of symbolism in Hawthorne’s “The Birth-Mark”:

What is the function of the birthmark as a symbol in the story? Does the meaning of the symbol change over the course of the story? If so, how? What does “the crimson hand” stand for? How does Aylmer interpret his wife's birthmark? What could be the reason(s) for Aylmer’s obsession with its removal? What does the removal of the birthmark signify? Why does he want to eradicate the mark? Why can the birthmark be removed only at the expense of Georgiana's life?

Remember to highlight relevant passages.

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Image: Yao Xiao, published in The Wall Street Journal, April 24, 2015

Nathaniel Hawthorne, "The Birth-Mark"

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