Alienation in The Minister's Black Veil Essay

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Alienation in The Minister's Black Veil "The Minister's Black Veil" by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a story about one clergyman's alienation due to his outward dressing. Reverend Hooper was a well-respected preacher who got along well with the townspeople until one day when he appeared wearing a black veil over his face that consisted "of two folds of crape, which entirely concealed his features, except the mouth and chin" (Hawthorne 253). From that day onward, he was alienated both socially and physically from his community and from himself due to his inability to remove the veil. Reverend Hooper's black veil caused alienation from his congregation. The minister did not even move his veil to perform marriages, which the town believed …show more content…
Whatever his reason for his odd clothing, Reverend Hooper's veil caused more than a physical separation from the people of his town. The people felt the veil was "the symbol of a fearful secret between him and them" (Hawthorne 256). Their fear and confusion of the minister's motives caused strange behavior and unnatural withdrawal from their spiritual leader.
After the initial onset of the black veil, the minister was alienated from himself. After performing the wedding, he caught a glimpse of himself in the looking-glass, and "the black veil involved his own spirit in the horror with which it overwhelmed all others" (Hawthorne 256). He would no longer look in a mirror at himself because "his antipathy to the veil was known to be so great" (Hawthorne 258). The veil which isolated his face from the sun and rain also kept him from his deepest fears and regrets. Reverend Hooper could no longer face himself and decided no one else alive would be allowed to face him either. The only people who seemed to see his face and understand him were lifeless corpses. As Mr. Hooper paid his last respects to a deceased young maiden in her casket, "the veil hung straight down from his forehead" (Hawthorne 255), and a superstitious woman claimed "the corpse had slightly shuttered" (Hawthorne 255). When the minister placed the black piece of cloth over his face, he intended to keep himself from the sight of his face also.
If Reverend Hooper had found a way to deal
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