“The Minister’s Black Veil” is arguably one of the most famous short stories in the history of American Literature. The author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, is an extremely well known writer who is recognized for his many works. From The Scarlet Letter to The House of the Seven Gables, Hawthorne’s exceptional literary skills are portrayed in each and every one of his stories. In his short story, “The Minister’s Black Veil,” Nathaniel Hawthorne uses irony, symbolism, and stereotypical Puritan beliefs and behavior to expose humanity’s hypocrisy in an effort to create change.
"The Minister's Black Veil" by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a parable written to ponder the mind of the reader and to make them realize many aspects of life. A parable is a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson. This early American Romanticism story is about a Minister named Parson Hooper who, wore a black veil on his face, covering it entirely. He lived in a small little village, where he was the Minister and soon he started to wear a black veil for the multiple reasons but the most important reason is articulated several times in the parable.
In The Minister’s Black Veil, the veil holds different meanings for the minister and for the people in his congregation. The congregation starts out confused about the meaning, and even though they get hints of the meaning over the years, they never understand it fully, and their obsessive fear of the minister continues even though he remains a good and harmless person. The minister seems to know what the symbolic meaning of the veil is, although he only reveals it slowly in bits and pieces until the climactic scene on his deathbed. He, too, views the veil with fear, because he sees it as a symbol of the secret sin in himself and everyone. In addition to the meaning the veil holds for the congregation and for the minister, it is important to consider the effect of the veil on the relationship between the two. Hawthorne seems to be saying that the minister’s perception of the sin in all people puts up a barrier between himself and everyone else and ruins his life.
Two topics that heavily relate to the outcome of “The Ministers Black Veil” are Secrecy and Forgiveness. Reverend Hopper seeks to teach his congregation a lesson. He uses the secrecy of the veil to teach them this. What they do not realize is what the veil might actually symbolize, the secret sin of behind each person. This secrecy was what the Minister was trying to teach them about. The people were frightened because the veil made them look at the minister in a dark way wondering what secrets he might be hiding behind the veil. The Minister was trying to get the people to look at there own secret sins for one reason. He wanted the people to seek forgiveness for these sins. He wanted them to remove there own personal veil and realize the
Hooper is sacrificing his life by ruining his reputation of his as a minister and as a person. People start to look at Mr. Hooper as a different and changed person; this is shown when the congregation says, “He has changed himself into something awful, only by hiding his face” (Hawthorne 176). The congregation also mentions “ The black veil, though it covers only our pastor’s face, throws its whole person, and makes him ghost-like from head to foot” (Hawthorne 178). Mr. Hooper’s veil that he wore was seen as if it took over his whole demeanor and made him into a whole new person. Mr. Hooper’s finance, Elizabeth, knew that people would view him differently and that the veil was not a good look for his reputation. Elizabeth tries to explain this to Mr. Hooper when she says, “But what if the world will not believe that it is the type of an innocent sorrow … Beloved and respected as you are, there may be whispers that you hide your face under the consciousness of secret sin. For the sake of your holy office, do away this scandal!” (Hawthorne 182) People are starting to not want to be around Mr. Hooper anymore because of the vibe that is given off when he approaches. At the funeral, everyone feels like his demeanor is only acceptable for a funeral based on the feelings that are brought to others when he is around (Denies 179+). Denies also mentions “The Hooper-- Hooper before the veil-- had been adored on such occasions for he had always exhibited “a placid cheerfulness,” but
In the short story “The Minister’s Black Veil” and the novel The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne tells the stories of two men who keep their sins secret and are hurt deeply. In The Scarlet Letter, Reverend Dimmesdale does not reveal his sin to the community and experiences far more pain than Hester, whose sin is revealed. Years after the original sin, Hester has healed and is accepted by the community, while Dimmesdale still feels guilty, as can be seen when he mounts the scaffold. Dimmesdale’s experience is similar to that of Reverend Hooper, who covers his face after a secret sin and is eschewed by the community. When we refuse to admit our faults, we will feel guilty
“The Minister’s Black Veil” and “Young Goodman Brown” are two short stories written by Nathaniel Hawthorne that share many similarities. In his writings, Hawthorne displays a fascination with the Puritanical beliefs and ideals associated with sin and wickedness. Such ideals serve as a common thread that weaves the stories together by using a religious base, symbolism, and a dark mood.
The veil that the minister wears in "The Ministers Black Veil", by Nathanial Hawthorne represents both the minister’s isolation from society and also his connection to society through sin. This symbolism of the veil is no immediately obvious, but later on throughout the story becomes noticeable.
Throughout the “The Minister’s Black Veil” Nathaniel Hawthorne uses fiction to show how Mr. Hooper’s love, dignity, happiness, and position in the community was sacrificed. Even though the townspeople saw the veil as a symbol of wickedness and evil, Reverend Hooper used it to his advantage in spreading the word of God and the Puritan
What can you expect from a minister from changing persona where people use to see him as a “gentlemanly men, of about thirty, though still a bachelor, was dressed with due clerical neatness.” Then have a change in his appearance where it drastically changes his life. By a piece of cloth over his head accounts reactions of the congregation to it, the veil, a black veil that changed the image and the reactions of the people from Westbury. It is just a man, Mr.Hooper, who Hawthorne is modulating between dramatic incidents involving the black veil and Mr.Hooper approaches dramatic reactions towards it, in the short story the “Minister’s Black Veil”. The key symbol of the short story is the black veil it represented the spiritual isolation between
In “The Minister’s Black Veil”, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the minister, Mr. Hooper wear a black veil which affects his relationship with his community negatively because the people distanced themselves and isolated Mr. Hooper. For example, Elizabeth, Mr. Hooper’s fiancee distances herself from Mr. Hooper. Hawthorne writes, “Then, farewell!” said Elizabeth. She withdrew her arm from his grasp and slowly departed...”. Elizabeth is heading out upset when Mr. Hooper says to her, “Oh! you know not how lonely I am, and how frightened to be alone behind my black veil. Do not leave me in this miserable obscurity forever!” The black veil caused for Mr. Hooper to lose his love. Both were really close but the black veil inferred in their relationship. However,
In "The Ministers Black Veil" by Nathaniel Hawthorne "The reason that it is difficult for the congregation and even his fiancée to look upon him is that they only see the veil. "The minister is hiding his face because he is afraid that what he is hiding will show to the people of the church and his fiancée. Mr. Hooper is wearing the veil because he committed a sin; and is hiding it from the town and his church
Throughout the short story “Minister's Black Veil” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Reverend Hooper sacrifices many things by wearing the black veil. Through his choice in wearing the black veil he sacrifices his social life, his relationship with his wife, and he’s now considered an outcast in his community.
In the “Minister's Black Veil” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hawthorne looks to convey the wrongs of the Puritan faith through a character in his story. Hawthorne effectively does this through his use of Mr. Hooper, a man who embodies all of the Puritan faith and a man who would be admired by many of his religion. Hawthorne uses both Mr. Hooper and the veil Hooper wears to portray and criticize the issues of sin and morality within the Puritan faith.