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Word Count: 273
In Rappaccinis Daughter Hawthorne tells the tale of a botanist who has raised his daughter as a rare flower in a clinically-controlled setting The protagonist a young suitor named Giovanni notes that just as Dr Rappaccini avoids handling his exotic plants and it is true that some plants are damaged by contact with the oils in human skin Beatrice goes out of her way to touch and caress them Rappaccini even gives over to Beatrice the care of flowers which are poisonous to ordinary mortals -- even himself -- and they flourish under her care Early in the story Beatrices way with flowers seems merely evidence of a green thumb Beatrice however seems as dependent on the plants as they are upon her in one case she takes the branches in her arms and tells the plant Give me thy breath my sister for I am faint with common air Since we have already learned that Dr Rappaccini has an extraordinary interest in cultivating plants which produce concentrated vegetable poisons this should definitely make us wonder about Beatrice Our fears are deepened when insects that have the bad fortune to buzz around her fall dead at her feet and regular flowers wilt in her hands And they are confirmed when Giovanni discovers that the mere touch of her hand has stained his wrist like the pressing of the petal of a flower As he spends more and more time with Beatrice Giovanni becomes not only immune to her deadly fumes but begins to turn poisonous himself soon he too can kill insects with his breath
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