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The Minister's Black Veil

Decent Essays
“The Minister’s Black Veil”

Society typically treats people differently if they are not like everyone else. This is a common theme in literature that helps develop the plot. One example of this is in “The Minister’s Black Veil”, a short story written and published in 1836 by Nathaniel Hawthorne. In the story, Parson Hooper, the reverend of Milford, arrives at church on Sunday the Sabbath with a black veil covering his eyes and face. The townspeople immediately begin to gossip; some say he has gone mad, while others believe he is hiding a shameful sin. However, the reader discovers Mr. Hooper wears the black veil to represent something everyone has: sin and secret. This demonstrates one of the major themes of the story: everyone has secret
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Hooper when he reveals himself wearing the black veil. The townsfolk reactions and thoughts about Mr. Hooper’s veil are similar. They no longer accept him as one of their own. One elderly woman mutters, “I don’t like it. He has changed himself into something awful, only by hiding his face” (2). The members of the Puritan congregation believe their parson has gone mad and something must be wrong with Mr. Hooper’s intellects. Everyone whispers and makes assumptions, but Mr. Hooper continues his Sunday routine of preaching a sermon. The sermon was darker than usual and influenced the townspeople in a powerful way. One woman said, “How strange that a simple black veil, such as any woman might wear on her bonnet, should become such a terrible thing on Mr. Hooper’s face!” (3). Many of the people do not want to be alone with him anymore since they are scared of his veil. The congregation doesn’t understand why he wears the black veil, but everyone is afraid of how he will react if they ask him. They judge Mr. Hooper on his appearance, not his character. Those who recognize their secrets and choose to stand apart from others will often realize they lead lonely…show more content…
The veil encourages the townspeople to pay more attention to his powerful messages. Perhaps, Mr. Hooper committed a sin and is trying to tell the public, but does not have the courage. Mr. Hooper attempts to lessen his guilt by wearing the veil and feels more hidden. The veil does make him a better person as it isolates him from others, allowing him to understand the feeling you get after sinning and being isolated from God. Nathaniel Hawthorne believes it is wrong of the townspeople to gossip about other’s sins, which becomes clear.

Throughout the rest of the story, Mr. Hooper never takes off his veil. He lives the rest of his life full of suspicions being lonely. Mr. Hooper gets the name “Father Hooper” because of the veil. Even though it had bad influences, the veil had one good effect of making him an efficient clergyman. He became a powerful man over souls who were suffering in agony of their sins. He went to dying sinners who would not breathe their last breath until he came and stayed with them until they passed. Many strangers came from far away to attend the church and hear his meaningful
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