Prejudice In The Minister's Black Veil

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“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye ” (“Motivational Quotes). In society, people are notorious for making assumptions about others right off the bat. In “ The Minister’s Black Veil” written by Nathaniel Hawthorne , this is true for the townspeople. Their reaction to the major change in Mr. Hooper’s appearance is a prime example of this problem. The way they excluded Mr. Hooper and talked about him behind his back backs up that fact that they were uninterested in trying to understand his decisions. The readers and townspeople are never given a definite reason behind Mr. Hooper’s decision of wearing the black veil, but that does not stop anyone from forming all kinds of prejudices. In…show more content…
The traits and actions of the townspeople throughout the story show their opinions on Mr. Hooper’s actions. All over the town their first instinct was to avoid Mr. Hooper as much as possible. In response to the veil,“ None, as on former occasions, aspired to the honor of walking by their pastor’s side”(Hawthorne 2). This is significant to the theme of the story because rather than branching out and asking Mr. Hooper about his veil, the town begins to make their own assumption which could potentially lead them into trouble. As the townspeople avoided Mr. Hooper, they failed to get to know the story behind the veil. If the townspeople were to talk to him and try to better understand his story they would see the veil as symbol of his pride,but also a representation of isolation ( Montbriand 213). The way the characters in the story handled the situation is similar to how people in real life act. The character traits in the short story support the idea that people should not judge someone without knowing their…show more content…
Hooper, but his naive fiancé’s opinions also affected him. Many would assume Elizabeth would follow in suit of the townspeople, but she was quite the opposite. She was surprisingly unbothered by the veil. She views “ the veil [as] a mere object rather than a sign or symbol” ( Freedman 216). The idea that she is willing to just accept the veil helps support the idea that you should not judge someone before you know their story. Yet, as time passes Elizabeth begins the question his veil. Her naiveness makes it nearly impossible for her to understand what the purpose of the veil is so, like others,she begins to make assumptions. Mr. Hooper tried to explain to her the symbolic meaning behind the veil but she is unable to comprehend it, as the Critical Overview states;
She understands the veil’s allegorical dimensions only when Hooper finally forces her to do so. In his last- minute attempt to remove the veil and reveal its ultimate meaning at Hooper’s impending death. Just as the veil hides Hooper’s face, the artistic symbol hides the author’s self, and it is the effects that these symbols produce in their readers that are interesting to
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