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Who had the birth mark?

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Jessica My question is:
Was a character in Adam Ewing ever identified as the birth marked character? I think Mitchell leaves clues and suggestions, but does he ever outright say 'this character - this birth mark'.

I think it's mistakenly assumed that it's Adam Ewing since he's the narrator, and I think it's either the doctor, the slave, or Adam.

If anyone can provide a passage or page number please!


Brandon I don't know. I don't remember reading anything about the birthmark in Adams section, and wondered the same thing. But, maybe it doesn't matter. Maybe Adam Ewing is sort of the "first" in this line of reincarnations. That is, as he has his conversion to the abolitionist movement, to dedicate his life to changing the world for the good, and from there the thread begins, because his "soul's" trajectory has now altered. And the comet birthmark is a literary device to mark that.

But I'd be pretty sure it was Adam, not the others, because each story after that is told from the point of view of the birthmarked person, and so too of course is Adam's story.


Virginia Moffatt I too have looked high and low in the Adam Ewing chapters and can't find mention of a birthmark anywhere. The slave has a tattoo but that's not the same. I've always assumed Adam is the person reincarnated, particularly because Luisa later gets a dizzy feeling when she sees the ship. And the story returns to him, and ends with his powerful thought about the ocean being a multitude of drops. Glad I am not the only obsessive on this subject!


message 4: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy Below are the characters that have birthmarks (I think). I don't see anything about Adam Ewing or Zachry having a birthmark:

Robert Frobisher:

"She plays with that birthmark in the hollow of my shoulder, the one you said resembles a comet—can’t abide the woman dabbling with my skin."

Luisa Rey:

"Luisa shunts these aside to get a clearer view of a birthmark between her shoulder blade and collarbone. Her encounter with Hal is displaced. Coincidences happen all the time. But it is undeniably shaped like a comet. The mirror mists over. Facts are your bread and butter. Birthmarks can look like anything you choose, not only comets."

Somni 451:

I was fritened of incriminating myself, but only my birthmark provoked any passing comment.
Your birthmark? I didn’t know fabricants have birthmarks.
We do not, so mine always caused me embarrassment in the steamer. Ma-Leu-Da 108 called it “Sonmi 451’s stain.”
Would you show it to my orison, just as a curio?
If you wish. Here, between my collarbone and shoulder blade.
Xtraordinary. It looks like a comet, don’t you think?
Hae-Joo Im made xactly the same remark, curiously.

Meronym:

"Lady Moon lit a whoahsome wyrd birthmark jus’ b’low my friend’s shoulder blade as she sleeped fin’ly. A sort o’ tiny hand mark it were, yay, a head o’ six streaks strandin’ off, pale ’gainst her dark skin, an’ I curioed why I’d never seen it b’fore."

"Zachry my old pa was a wyrd buggah, I won’t naysay it now he’s died. Oh, most o’ Pa’s yarnin’s was jus’ musey duck fartin’ an’ in his loonsome old age he even b’liefed Meronym the Prescient was his presh b’loved Sonmi, yay, he ’sisted it, he said he knowed it all by birthmarks an’ comets’n’all."

Timothy Cavendish:

"I, too, have a birthmark, below my left armpit, but no lover ever compared it to a comet. Georgette nicknamed it Timbo’s Turd."


Kevin Swanson Like many parts of this book it felt like an unfinished motif, the author gave us clues to the re-incarnated characters, but didn't tell us all of them.

Additionally the Cavendish story is also an outlier. It focuses heavily on a single character, instead of a cast. Also Cavendish doesn't seem to have memories of the other stories like the others.

To me this was all just frustrating.


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