“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. In his short story, “The Minister’s Black Veil,” Nathaniel Hawthorne uses irony, symbolism, and stereotypical Puritan beliefs and behavior to expose humanity’s hypocrisy in an effort to create change.
"The Minister's Black Veil" by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a parable written to ponder the mind of the reader and to make them realize many aspects of life. A parable is a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson. This early American Romanticism story is about a Minister named Parson Hooper who, wore a black veil on his face, covering it entirely. He lived in a small little village, where he was the Minister and soon he started to wear a black veil for the multiple reasons but the most important reason is articulated several times in the parable.
In Hawthorne’s short story, the minister walks out of the rectory one morning with a black veil covering his face. In this story, it is heavily debated what that black veil actually symbolizes. Could it be a symbol of sin and guilt, or is it rather a barrier between the minister and the rest of society? The story takes place in winter at Milford, Connecticut, where it focuses on Parson Hooper, the town’s minister. It is a close knit town where everybody knows each other. As the story progresses, it is seen how people will avoid even the most loved friends and family once there is a mysterious barrier in between them. So, throughout the story, the minister’s black veil symbolizes a variety of things such as: secret sins, a barrier, and even sorrow.
“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.
In The Minister’s Black Veil, the veil holds different meanings for the minister and for the people in his congregation. The congregation starts out confused about the meaning, and even though they get hints of the meaning over the years, they never understand it fully, and their obsessive fear of the minister continues even though he remains a good and harmless person. The minister seems to know what the symbolic meaning of the veil is, although he only reveals it slowly in bits and pieces until the climactic scene on his deathbed. He, too, views the veil with fear, because he sees it as a symbol of the secret sin in himself and everyone. In addition to the meaning the veil holds for the congregation and for the minister, it is important to consider the effect of the veil on the relationship between the two. Hawthorne seems to be saying that the minister’s perception of the sin in all people puts up a barrier between himself and everyone else and ruins his life.
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. The people were frightened because the veil made them look at the minister in a dark way wondering what secrets he might be hiding behind the veil. The Minister was trying to get the people to look at there own secret sins for one reason. He wanted the people to seek forgiveness for these sins. He wanted them to remove there own personal veil and realize the
In both short stories, “The Devil and Tom Walker”by, Washington Irving and “The Minister’s Black Veil”by, Nathaniel Hawthorne religion is used to expose the hypocrisy of Tom Walker who pretends to be Christian and the Puritan townspeople who judge the minister for exposing his secret sin while sinning themselves. Tom Walker decides to make a deal with the devil for financial gain. Once Tom Walker reaches old age he realizes he is going to hell and tries to figure out a way to cheat the devil. He begins going to church obnoxiously praying and judging the churchgoers for how they choose to practice their The “quiet Christians” would be praying modestly to themselves while Tom would be obnoxiously praying trying to one-up them. Irving compares Tom’s newfound Christianity to his job as a loan shark.
Judgement causes people to wear masks. In The Minister’s Black Veil by Nathaniel Hawthorne, people in the community judge Mr. Hooper for wearing a veil. Since he lives in a Puritan community everyone knew everything about each other, and if anyone misbehaved everyone would know about it. Hawthorne makes this evident in the first paragraph when he describes the way the town reacted when he wore the veil to a funeral sermon. In his sermon Hooper states that God is always watching, but the truth is that the townspeople are always watching and judging their peers. ” As he entered the church people became disturbed. He wanted to see how people would react when he did something he normally wouldn’t do. “The next day, the whole village of Milford talked of little else than Parson Hooper's black veil. That, and the mystery concealed behind it, supplied a topic for discussion between acquaintances meeting in the street, and good women gossiping at their open windows. It was the first item of news that the tavern-keeper told to his guests. The children babbled of it on their way to school. One imitative little imp covered his face with an old black handkerchief, thereby so affrighting his playmates that the panic seized himself, and he well-nigh lost his wits by his own waggery.” Hoopers appearance leads the town to believe their own interpretations of why he chose to wear the black veil.
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.
Nathaniel Hawthorne's, " The Ministers Black Veil", is regarded to one of the first and greatest examples of American Short Fiction. Like many of Hawthorne's novels and stories the story is developed around a single around a single symbol; in this case, the black veil. There are ambiguous ways of explaining why Mr. Hooper wears the black veil?
Initially in the story, Mr. Hooper (Who is the Minister of a Church) became an odd character which came to question the people because he began to wear a black veil over himself and knowing that he represents the church, the attention stood at a shock towards the people. To certain individuals, it appeared more odd towards them such as a woman who said “He has changed himself into something awful, only by hiding his face.” Although this seemed as such a difference to the people, Mr. Hooper did not seem to see what his people had seen him. As if he was blinded to what he had done himself. His attitude was not changed, After all he was known as a good preacher but not an energetic one.
What can you expect from a minister from changing persona where people use to see him as a “gentlemanly men, of about thirty, though still a bachelor, was dressed with due clerical neatness.” Then have a change in his appearance where it drastically changes his life. By a piece of cloth over his head accounts reactions of the congregation to it, the veil, a black veil that changed the image and the reactions of the people from Westbury. It is just a man, Mr.Hooper, who Hawthorne is modulating between dramatic incidents involving the black veil and Mr.Hooper approaches dramatic reactions towards it, in the short story the “Minister’s Black Veil”. The key symbol of the short story is the black veil it represented the spiritual isolation between
“The Minister’s Black Veil” entails a key talking point which can be used in deliberate action to sway people into thinking that by changing personal looks with one simple object, this does not change their attitude, persona, and many other attributes. This key talking point represents the idea of judging a person based on looks, clothes, hobbies, etc. to draw conclusions about a person before others get to know them. In “The Minister’s Black Veil”, this object is a black veil which Mr. Hooper uses to prove a point amongst the townsfolk that, even though he may have this mysterious object covering his face, he is still the same person in and out. Mr Hooper did all of the same tasks which he had been doing for many years, such as: going to
In "The Ministers Black Veil" by Nathaniel Hawthorne "The reason that it is difficult for the congregation and even his fiancée to look upon him is that they only see the veil. "The minister is hiding his face because he is afraid that what he is hiding will show to the people of the church and his fiancée. Mr. Hooper is wearing the veil because he committed a sin; and is hiding it from the town and his church