Summary Of The Minister's Black Veil

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Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Minister’s Black Veil” begins on a Sunday morning “Sabbath-day” before church in the small town of Milford MA. The sexton rings the bell calling all the parishioners forward for church. The church begins to fill as any normal Sunday although this turns out to be anything but an ordinary day. When it becomes time to go before the congregation Reverend Mr. Hooper walks into church. The sexton and the entire congregation is stunned because today Reverend Hooper enters the church with a black veil covering his face. Reverend Hooper was a mild mannered minister and his sermons were not overly energetic, however the one delivered on this day struck the congregation as a very powerful message. The entire pulpit whispered…show more content…
Upon gaining counsel in his office all not one of the men could speak, too fearful of the black veiled minister. After a short while they retired to reach out to Elizabeth, the pastor’s love interest, she intended to go to Reverend Hooper to discuss the cloud that hung over the congregation due to this veil. Elizabeth met with the pastor and calmly asked as to why he was wearing it and to remove it. Reverend Hooper responded “Know then this veil is a type and a symbol and I am bound to wear it ever both in light and darkness, in solitude and before gazes of multitudes… No mortal eye will see it withdrawn… even you Elizabeth can never come behind it” (414). This meeting frightens Elizabeth who leaves the pastor due to the gloomy cloud cast about him now with his new veil.
Reverend Hooper continues to live out his days as the pastor in Milford in a life of lonely, sorrowful, solitude. He never removes the black veil from his face. On his deathbed the new young minister from Westbury Reverend Clark among others is by his side. Reverend Clark tries to get the now Father Hooper to remove his black veil. Father Hooper refuses
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I believe it was his way of trying to get his followers to realize that even if you try to act as though if the sin never occurred that there is no hiding it, that the Lord sees all. On his deathbed when Father Hooper calls out to “Tremble also at each other” (418) I feel he is referencing the hypocritical nature of his congregation to cast him aside and shun him because of his veil until their time of spiritual and mortal need, it truly shows that they have no true faith but only display it when the time is appropriate or beneficial to them. I see Reverend Hooper as neither good nor evil I view it as though he saw a chance to try and show his flock the true nature of their ways. I believe that Nathaniel Hawthorne’s focus was not on the black veil or the reason the minister wore it but the reaction the community had to this action. The parishioners constantly cast sin upon the minister convinced he is hiding a crime or grave secret behind that veil all the while ignoring the very crimes and sins they are committing. The people of the church simply show that they are afraid of what they don’t understand and are driven more out of suspicion than that of kindness and understanding. In some ways the story seems to present the pastor as bearing the sins of the church upon himself through this black
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