In “The Minister’s Black Veil,” Nathaniel Hawthorne used the black veil to cover Mr. Hooper’s face to symbolize his sorrows or secret sins. Hooper said, “I, perhaps, like most other mortals, have sorrows dark enough to be typified by a dark veil” (641). The black veil also becomes a symbol of Hooper's sin of excessive pride when he continues to wear it and gets caught up in thinking that he is morally superior because he is the one who conveys such a significant message. The greatest criticism of Hooper, leveled by those who see the veil as a symbol of pride, is that he is a bad shepherd to his flock because he neglects them as he becomes more and more preoccupied with his moral mission. Symbolically, the veil denies him meaningful and complete admission to God's presence in both Scripture and prayer and realizing that he can never be certain whether God has elected or damned him to hell, he taints a clear and uncomplicated view of worldly and spiritual things.
While not righteous or honorable in any traditional sense, the Pardoner argues that he is appropriate to preach against his personal vice of greed due to his understanding of the sin and that in the process he is able to truly assist others in the relinquishment of their faults. In correspondence, the Pardoner “preach for nothing but for greed of gain… from it, I can bring them to repent” (p. 243). The transparency of the Pardoner’s confessions is without a doubt
“‘On every visage a Black Veil!’” (Hawthorne 188). The majority of people prefers to keep their secrets hidden from others, but they do not mind passing judgment onto someone else. Writers often highlight the values of a society or community by using characters who are alienated because of gender, race, or creed. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Minister’s Black Veil,” Reverend Hooper is subjugated to alienation from his community because of the black veil that covers their minister’s face. In fact, some are more concerned with this piece of fabric that covers his face, than his religious teachings.
The Minister’s Black Veil: A Parable, by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a tale that may seem dark, but rings with a haunting amount of truth. The dominant symbol that Hawthorne uses in this short story is Minister Hooper’s black veil. In this essay, the veil will be recognized as a symbol for the barrier between an individual and those around them. This barrier works to create fear and distrust in the characters throughout the work and greatly influences their actions and behavior toward Hooper. The symbol of the veil also opens the readers’ eyes to the fact that there is a barrier between themselves and the world around them.
As opposed to the Grandmothers constant change of morals to favor certain situations, the Misfit has morals that are set in stone and adhere to his past, present and future. As the two characters converse, religion sparks an interest in the Misfit because it is something he is interested in understanding but knowing it must not be true. He believes that he must see it with his own eyes to prove the existence. His concept of reality also relates himself to Jesus, so much so as to believe he is a realistic representation of Him. He goes on to tell that the only difference is between the crimes committed and the proof held against him.
Throughout the story, Hooper’s actions portray just how judgmental our society really is. In the “Minister’s Black Veil”, Hawthorne displays Hooper and the symbol of the veil as a representation of how judgmental society can become when faced with situations they don’t understand even though they have no right to judge. The “Minister’s Black Veil” was written as a parable in order to teach us a moral lesson stating that you should never judge someone. In Paul J. Emmett’s literary criticism he tells of a point in the story when Hooper explains his reasoning for wearing the veil, Emmett says, “After exhausting life in his efforts for mankind’s spiritual good, he had made the manner of his death a parable, in order to impress on his admirers the mighty and mournful lesson, that, in the view of infinite purity, we
He uses parallel structure to argue that religion is what slaveholders use to justify the horrid crimes that they act upon a slave. He calls it “a justifier of the most appalling barbarity” and “a sanctifier of the most hateful frauds.” The use of parallel structure here helps us see the cowardice of slaveholders. They hide behind their religion to justify their cruel acts, Douglass goes to the point of calling Mr. Weeden a “religious wretch.” By debasing the argument that religion supports slavery Douglass is in turn making his opponents argument
Another perspective is that Atwood purposely used the number six to make associations with the devil and highlight the contrast of good and bad with reference to the Bible. Six can denote something as being flawed and impure as it is associated with God’s enemies’. From a Christian perspective christians agree there should be principle of good conduct but they disagree on the forms of conduct in order to gain salvation. From this the reader can infer social agencies in ‘Gilead’ follow the Christian conduct and they believe they’re doing the ‘correct’ thing by punishing and regulating behaviour. Nevertheless, by putting their heads in ‘white bags’ it is ironic because this masks their identities and makes them appear as victims as the colour symbolises purity.
However, even with his claims of holiness, he puts on the veil; this is ironic, because the veil symbolizes the opposite of holiness. Also, the Minister shows that he has very limited understanding of true Christianity (Freedman). It is ironic that Parson Hooper tears his face and makes such a big scene about the secret sin we are all hiding. Yes, this sin is bad, and no, we should not hide it. However, true Christianity comes with knowing that we are and never will be perfect, but that God is strong in our weaknesses.
Hooper’s sacrifice acknowledges that sin comes at a high price, as he wore the veil, he isolated himself from the Puritan society and no longer accepted him as that was advent. The theme of the Minister’s Black Veil is that everyone has a secret sin, dying from others and that no one person can escape sin. “The subject had reference to secret sin, and those sad mysteries which we hide from our nearest and dearest, and would fain conceal from our own consciousness, even forgetting that the Omniscient can detect them” (Hawthorne). Reverend Hooper wears the black veil to communicate to his congregation and acknowledge that he has sinned. He sacrifices himself by wearing the black veil to recognize the sins committed by himself and the others townspeople; coming to terms with bad sins and remaining as part of humanity.