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There are some people that we might consider to be a freak because of their disfigured appearance. Consider the story of John Merrick who was known more by his disfigured appearance and labeled as the "Elephant man". "John Merrick was born in Leicester, England in 1862. He suffered from a severe bone and skin disorder that progressively disfigured him grotesquely. At three, he was abandoned by his mother, who deposited him at a workhouse. He was rescued from there only to spend most of his life being exploited in a traveling circus exhibit that featured him as a freak---"The Elephant Man".


"Toward the end of his life, Merrick was befriended, given a home, and treated with respect by a fashionable London surgeon, Sir Frederick Treves. Treves introduced Merrick to Leila Maturin, a widow, who was the first woman to smile at Merrick and touch his hand and speak to him. Gradually, others, including the Princess of Wales, and actresses, looked beyond his loathsome flesh and discovered a real human being with feelings and desires. Through their caring, a man considered nothing more than a horrible freak emerged to become an intelligent, gentle and dignified human being".


(Dr. William P. Barker. Ed. Tarbell’s Teacher’s Guide. 87th Annual Volume. Elgin: David C. Cook Publishing Co., 1991, p. 31). Once can only imagine what it must have been like for John Merrick.

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