The Minister's Black Veil Symbolism

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The veil that the minister wears in "The Ministers Black Veil", by Nathanial Hawthorne represents both the minister’s isolation from society and also his connection to society through sin. This symbolism of the veil is no immediately obvious, but later on throughout the story becomes noticeable. In the story when the minister, Mr. Hooper first walks out of his house wearing the black veil, everyone was startled. No one quite understood why the minister would be wearing this veil for no specific reason. Soon assumptions began to travel around the village. All of the villagers had their own opinion on why the minister was wearing this veil. None of the villagers were trying to understand the true reasoning of the veil they had just convinced…show more content…
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. The themes that are portrayed by the veil reveals, the tension between the minister and the community. Every person has something to hide from the world, the veil is symbolic for the cover up of the people’s secrets. Although most people would not wear a veil to hide their secrets from others, the minister is proving a point. By wearing a simple black veil Mr. Hooper is making all the villagers evaluate their everyday actions closely. The symbolic value of the black veil creates a dilemma that it between the minister and his environment, and the guilt that the veil also conveys. Many people believe that the face provides information about a person's life and…show more content…
The wearing of the veil is a confession of guilt and a suggestion that everyone should do the same. Mr. Hooper really did not understand how much this black veil was going to affect the congregation until raising his glass in a toast for a newlywed couple and catching a glimpse of himself in the looking glass. Right then and there is when Mr. Hooper realized, "the Earth, too, had on her black veil” (Hawthorne 2145). This means that everyone is hiding; most people would not wear a black veil and have no reason in doing so. Is it that the people afraid of what the veil represents to Mr. Hooper or are they afraid of what it represents to themselves? It is obvious that Mr. Hooper is afraid of people's faithfulness to each one of the villagers, and also to God. It seems as Mr. Hooper is testing to see if the love and companionship of others is unreliable. By seeing the
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