The Minister's Black Veil Analysis

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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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