Conformism In The Minister's Black Veil

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Man is born with original sin, the illustrious phrase that thoroughly represents the normative belief of Puritanism, serves an influential role in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s writings. Though inherited with Puritanical roots, the complete oeuvre of Nathaniel Hawthorne vividly portrays his refusal to be a Puritan and depicts his disapproval on Puritan ideas. Hawthorne's perspective on ‘sin’ draws a parallel connection with Puritans, yet he criticizes Puritan religious beliefs through one of his prominent masterpiece: The Minister’s Black veil. In “The Minister’s Black Veil,” Hawthorne conveys his criticism of Puritan ideas through the symbol of the black veil, an emblem of sin within the Earth as opposed to Puritan’s view of the sinless God, a representation…show more content…
In the aspect of the Puritan beliefs, religious conformity was the critical support of Puritanism (Study.com). In order to achieve the integrity of the community, the fundamental mission was to integrate people into conforming in the Puritan beliefs (Pbs.org). Moreover, laws were inaugurated to ensure that people were conformed to Puritan decrees (Encyclopedia.com). As a non conforming conformist, Hawthorne applies the black veil as the main motif to advocate non-conformity in society (Reynolds 33). “‘There was but one thing remarkable in his appearance. Swathed about his forehead, and hanging down over his face, so low as to be shaken by his breath, Mr. Hooper had on a black veil”’ (Hawthorne 256). The intense diction used demonstrates the particular effect of the black veil to the Puritans, as it is the separation of conformity within society. The word ‘remarkable’ insinuates a feeling of surprise in oneself, since it is an eccentric action for wearing a black veil in the public. Furthermore, ‘remarkable’ implies the veil itself is the object of departure from society. Even though the black veil has significantly influenced the Minister’s live, himself notwithstanding continued to wear the veil: an action of non-conformist. As the story progresses, it is shown that the action of a non-conformist benefitted him to become a better Minister. Through the use of the black veil, Hawthorne…show more content…
To the Puritans, they believed in collective guilt and that one should repent for their sinful actions till their death; they viewed sin as a socially unacceptable crime. Hawthorne himself agrees with the idea of ‘doctrine of original sin,’, however, he opposes to the Puritanical traditional thinking and suggests how sin is an educative effect that alters one into an incomparable wise figure before the ‘sinful’ act (Mills 97).“‘Among all its bad influences, the black veil had the one desirable effect of making its wearer a very efficient clergyman. By the aid of his mysterious emblem---for there was no other apparent cause---he became a man of awful power over souls that were in agony for sin”’ (Hawthorne 262). Through the use an awe tone, Hawthorne illustrates how the effect of the veil has transformed Minister Hooper into a more effective minister than before. From the words that provide the perception of awe, ‘efficient,’ ‘mysterious,’and ‘awful,’ it depicts a sense of reverential respect yet incorporated fear within it. Although the purpose of the black veil was to expose the sinfulness of the Minister, it has not impede him from his duty but served as a motivation for the devoutness in his career. The awe tone employed further portrays how Hawthorne believes in the ‘educative effect of sin’ as opposed to the depraved effect on humans that Puritans believe sin would result. In this
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