Symbols In The Birthmark And The Minister's Black Veil

620 Words3 Pages
A Deeper Meaning: A Comparison of Symbols Nathaniel wrote both “The Birthmark” and “The Minister’s Black Veil”. He uses symbols in both of these short stories. The symbolism in “The Minister’s Black Veil” evokes the stories theme more than in “The Birthmark”. The veil is the stronger symbol. Georgiana’s birthmark is a symbol of her mortality. The narrator explains that everything in nature is flawed and dies. The hand shaped mark is the only thing on an otherwise perfect person, the thing that portrays her as mortal. Aylmer believes that the birthmark marks his wife’s premature death. Being the smart man that he is one would believe that he would just see the birthmark for what it is, but he makes a fatal misinterpretation. He truly believes…show more content…
Hawthorne is not as straight forward with this symbol as he is in “The Birthmark”, but it is still a strong symbol when examined closely. The members of Reverend Hooper’s church are under the impression that he has committed an awful crime and is concealing a secret sin. Readers are comfortable believing his because of Hawthorne’s footnote in the original text concerning the Reverend Joseph Moody who wore a black veil after killing a dear friend (Hawthorne 8). The secret sin in “The Minister’s Black Veil” is an affair he had with the young woman who they laid to rest, and that he could have something to do with her death. The veil makes its first appearance on the day of her funeral, and Reverend Hooper says that it is a sign of mourning, but mourning who? He is obviously speaking of this young maiden (Hawthorne 5). Some believe that there is even a deeper secret between the young lady and Reverend Hooper and that is that he has received a sexually transmitted disease (Emmett 103). It would be a huge scandal in his church if anyone were to find out and that is why he keeps it very quiet. He then goes on to make a sermon on secret sin only to make it clear that he is hiding something. On the statement that he could have something to do with her death: It is very obvious that he had played a part in it, first he dons a black veil that only women who mourn wear, then has a very intimate prayer for her funeral,
Open Document