Nathaniel Hawthorne, an American short story writer and romantic novelist, is known for his exploration into the darkest parts of the human psyche; delving into themes such as sin, loneliness, and isolation. First published in 1832, Hawthorne’s short story “The Minister’s Black Veil” is a parable that tells the story of Reverend Mr. Hooper and how simply donning a black veil shakes up the citizens of a small Puritan community in New England. In the “The Minister’s Black Veil”, Hawthorne uses the black veil to symbolize the sinfulness of mankind, which is often kept secret, and that keeping these things hidden greatly impacts the one who commits a sin and how the community behaves toward that person. Mr. Hooper’s final words powerfully express the theme of hidden sin. Though still partly shrouded in mystery, this is the most directly he has spoken about the veil in the story, and it gives a great deal of insight into the veil’s significance. Just before he dies Mr. Hooper gives an impassioned response to the minister of Westbury, claiming that all people have things that are kept hidden from others, and when they stop “loathsomely treasuring up the secret” of their sins then they can “deem [him] a monster” for wearing his veil (13). From the beginning of the story Hawthorne mentions the idea of secret sins repeatedly, most notably in Mr. Hooper’s sermon on page three. During the sermon the veil has a significant impact on how the congregation receives the sermon. They see it
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“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and before the gaze of multitudes, and as with strangers, so with my familiar friends, no mortal eye will see it withdrawn, the dismal shade must separate me from the world" (336) Hawthorne’s them through out the Ministers Black Veil and many more of his works, resemble innocence, guilt and secret
Two topics that heavily relate to the outcome of “The Ministers Black Veil” are Secrecy and Forgiveness. Reverend Hopper seeks to teach his congregation a lesson. He uses the secrecy of the veil to teach them this. What they do not realize is what the veil might actually symbolize, the secret sin of behind each person. This secrecy was what the Minister was trying to teach them about.
A Sinner Black Veil In the story “The Minister’s Black Veil” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the reader can infer that Mr. Hooper teaches his community the lesson that everyone wears a black veil and has secret sins that are hidden from others. The author states that “if I cover it for secret sin, what mortal might not do the same?” In addition, Mr. Hooper wearing the black veil puzzles his community. The reason for that is that a priest does not wear a black veil and preaches in front of everyone in an act of betrayal of the belief in Jesus.
(Hawthorne, 5) The minister says this to show that the veil represents the secret sin that one will carry with them while on earth. Despite the fact that they have different ideas , both authors are able to reveal a greater meaning through
In article two it states; "Mr. Hooper wears the veil to symbolize his mourning for the secret sins of many of the Puritans who fear the severe punishments for transgressions and live as hypocrites becomes apparent in the denouement of Hawthorne's story" clearly stating that he wears this black veil to symbolize the sins of the puritans rather than himself. Mr. Hooper wishes to teach a moral
It is this very point that Hooper is trying to make when he first wears the veil. While on his death-bed, Hooper remarks that he should only be deemed monster for wearing the veil only when man no longer hides his sin. Through this statement, he finally reveals the meaning of the cloth he wears; it represents those evil deeds men have hidden deep inside, away from the visible world. Supporting this, Sarah Wright remarks, “The veil...becomes an emblem of the passion for concealment that afflicts all humans to a greater or lesser degree” (Wright 167). With his last spoken words, Hooper emphasizes that everyone has a form of secret sin.
In the short story The Minister’s Black Veil by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mr. Hooper, the town parson, begins wearing a black veil that obscures his face. The town begins gossiping that he might be hiding a secret sin. Hawthorne uses Nathaniel Hawthorne was an outstanding writer who wrote very intricate and frightening stories. The inspiration for these dark and depressing tales came from his tragic childhood. When Hawthorne was four years old his father died.
“The Minister’s Black Veil” by Nathaniel Hawthorne is full of many different symbols, but the most notable one is the veil itself. Throughout the story, Hawthorne presents many instances where the veil could mean several things. Some may see only one meaning, however, others may see a number of them. Hawthorne may have been the only one who truly knew what the veil symbolized, but at the same time the fact that the story makes the reader think even after reading it is what makes it all the more interesting to analyze. The veil itself could symbolize things such as rebirth, secrecy, ambiguity.
Mr. Hooper was forcing all of the people to look deeper within themselves and try to understand the veils true meaning “Such was the effect of this simple piece of crape, that more than one woman of delicate nerves was forced to leave the meeting-house. Yet perhaps the pale-faced congregation was almost as fearful a sight to the minister, as his black veil to them.” (Hawthorne 707) In reality, the veil represents the secrets everyone is hiding within himself or herself. The theme of the veil is the conflict between the dark, hidden side of man.
Dialogue evidence can be found in a conversation between Mr. Hooper and Elizabeth, and what is said at Mr. Hooper’s death bed. Evidence from character actions is seen in how Elizabeth hides her love from Mr. Hooper, and how the whole town treats him with his black veil on. Through clear character dialogue and textual evidence, Hawthorne’s story says everyone has a Black Veil that they are hiding under. Hawthorne writes, “ ‘There is an hour to come,’ said he, ‘when all of us shall cast aside our veils. Take it not amiss, beloved friend, if I wear this piece of crape till then’ “ (Hawthorne XXX).
In a quote by Andrew Lansley, it states, “Peer pressure and social norms are powerful influences on behavior and they are classic excuses.” This quote ties in perfectly with the story, The Minister’s Black Veil by Nathaniel Hawthorne. In the story, the main character, Mr. Hooper, lives a somewhat normal life as a priest, until one day, he decides to wear a black veil over his face. After that day, everything completely changed as he was treated differently by his community. The adults began taunting and spreading rumors about him and the children ran away from him as if he were a monster, all because of the black veil on his face.
The Story Behind the Veil “The Minister’s Black Veil” is arguably one of the most famous short stories in the history of American Literature. The author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, is an extremely well known writer who is recognized for his many works. From The Scarlet Letter to The House of the Seven Gables, Hawthorne’s exceptional literary skills are portrayed in each and every one of his stories.
The main character in “The Minister’s Black Veil”, Mr. Hooper represents how everyone carries a sin with them but some choose to acknowledge it, while others choose to hide them. People may live for long periods of time and say that they are “free of sins”. The truth is everyone carries a sin with them, they just choose to not acknowledge it. This world is filled with people with sins, they may be horrible, while others are not so significant, and others are shared. When people tell their sins to the world everyone looks at them like if they are the devil themselves, or if one did have a sin everyone tries to figure out what that sin is, forgetting that them, themselves also carry sins, but it is much easier to acknowledge others sins.
In the “Minister’s Black Veil”, Hawthorne displays Hooper and the symbol of the veil as a representation of how judgmental society can become when faced with situations they don’t understand even though they have no right to judge. The “Minister’s Black Veil” was written as a parable in order to teach us a moral lesson stating that you should never judge someone. In Paul J. Emmett’s literary criticism he tells of a point in the story when Hooper explains his reasoning for wearing the veil, Emmett says, “After exhausting life in his efforts for mankind’s spiritual good, he had made the manner of his death a parable, in order to impress on his admirers the mighty and mournful lesson, that, in the view of infinite purity, we
People from other places wanting to see him just to see the “minister with the black veil”. Many other dying sinners were always welcoming him to preach all their sins to him before they left their dying beds. “In this manner, Mr.Hooper spent a long life, irreproachable in outward act, yet shrouded in dismal suspicions; kind and loving, though unloved, and dimly feared; a man apart from men, shunned in their health and joy, but ever summoned to their aid of mortal anguish.” (14, Hawthorne) Eventually, all those stares and reactions towards his black veil made his life miserable and everywhere he sees himself in the glass mirror Mr.Hooper is unable to see himself again like he uses to do before. Among his death bed, his beloved Elizabeth came to take care of him and Reverend Mr.Clark to seek him into conclusion and to help him leave those sins so much he had attached himself to liberate him to the spiritual light.