ethan brand by nathaniel hawthorne

discss what is the factual, literal use of the lime-klin?How might this be symbolically or metaphorically significant as a key to the rest of the tale?

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Literally, this is just a lime kiln, a place where lime is heated and processed.  Figuratively, however, it represents the way in which Brand's search has turned him into nothing more than a "chunk" of lime, especially his heart.  His heart is, indeed, hardened, and no matter what else happens in the story, this is his end.