The Birth-Mark is a psychological thriller short story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It was published first in 1843 in the March edition of The Pioneer literary journal. It was published again in 1846 in a collection of short stories titled Mosses from an Old Manse.
The Birth-Mark is Hawthorne's first published work of fiction. Some consider it to be a reflection of Hawthorne's personal life, as it was published during his marriage to Sophia Peabody and reflects the fears and desires of a newlywed couple.
The story features psychological themes of the pursuit of perfection as the protagonist obsesses over his lover's aesthetic birth defect. It also offers philosophical commentary regarding societal beauty standards and the perception of beauty, the body vs. the soul, and the dangers of manipulating human nature.