Scarlet Letter And The Minister's Black Veil By Nathaniel Hawthorne

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THESIS: In the literary pieces The Scarlet Letter and “The Minister’s Black Veil”, Nathaniel Hawthorne emphasizes the negative effects of guilt and sin through the presence of Puritan ideals, the symbolism of sin, and the motif of the nature of evil. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s experiences within the Puritan community greatly impacted his writing style. The Scarlet Letter and “The Minister’s Black Veil” each contain Puritan ideals that are used to convey the negative effects of guilt and sin. In The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne uses Puritan ideals to create a strict, judgmental community where sins are taken very seriously. When Hester first appears on the scaffold, she receives a great amount of judgment from her Puritan community. Hawthorne says,…show more content…
The minister of a Puritan community, Mr. Hooper, covers his face with a veil to remind members of the town of their sins. Hawthorne writes, “The next day, the whole village of Milford talked of little else than Parson Hooper’s black veil. That, and the mystery concealed behind it, supplied a topic for discussion between acquaintances meeting in the street, and good women gossiping at their open windows” (Hawthorne 6). The Puritans of Mr. Hooper’s community do not understand why he is wearing the veil and assume it is because he feels guilty for a sin he has committed. Puritan obsession with judgment of sin is being expressed at this time of the story. Many members are the town are gossiping about a religious leader because they believe he has committed a sin. Barna argues that “What makes Hawthorne so modern is that he took the Puritan doctrine and psychologized it. He did this by pointing out the dark motives--self-righteousness, quest for power--that lie beneath many outwardly benevolent actions” (Barna 14). Hawthorne uses Puritan ideals in his literary works, such as “The Minister’s Black Veil” to show the dark side of Puritan society by displaying how harshly they treat sinners. Although it may seem like the townspeople are worried about Mr. Hooper for sinning, they are actually just
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