The Minister's Black Veil
The Loyalty and Commitment of Parson Hooper in The Minister’s Black Veil, a Short Story by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne tells a story titled The Minister’s Black Veil, of a minister that views himself as a representative of God. Hawthorne instills the qualities of loyalty and commitment in his main character, Parson Hooper, because although he is being shunned by the community, he fulfills his vow to God. Hooper believes that by wearing the black veil, he is doing God’s work of helping people save themselves, thereby sacrificing his position in the social class.
Hawthorne uses many symbols to represent parts of the story that he does not utterly explain in detail. The first symbol he uses is the black veil that Parson Hooper wears on top of his head to cover his face. This is a result of Hooper’s belief that one sinner could threaten the entire community. The people living in his community must recognize that the veil symbolizes their sins, and that they must confess in order to save themselves. Hooper cannot blatantly tell them what the veil represents because he cannot save them himself. Being a disciple of God, the minister trusts that he could get the members of the community to see their sins by reflecting them symbolically in the black veil. The color of the veil, black, symbolizes darkness, evil, and ignorance. Hooper does this in order for the rest of the community to be in harmony with God. The black veil changes its meaning from the beginning of the story to the end, and also symbolizes something different to different people. To Parson Hooper, it is used as a symbol to represent his work for God, and this meaning stays constant to him throughout the story. In the beginning, the black veil was seen as a depiction of evil by the citizens. As Hooper is being buried, civilians decide to bury him with the black veil due to his powerful speech. This suggests that people realized that the black veil was for the use of good and not evil. To Hooper’s fiancé, Elizabeth, the veil symbolizes clouds covering sunshine (his face). Towards the end of the story, she breaks down because she recognizes her sins in the veil.
The minister himself, due to his religion, is represented as a symbol of God. His vow to God involves influencing sinners to see and confess their wrongdoings by wearing a black veil. In Hooper’s perspective, he views himself as a symbol of God from beginning to end. In the civilians perspective, they recognize his duty of doing God’s work, until he starts actually wearing the black veil. Throughout the story, people begin to view him and the black veil as a representation of evil. As a result, Hooper was shunned by the rest of the community.
Children are used in the story to symbolize the future. In the beginning of the story, Hooper is admired by the children in the community. He views them as the future of their society, and how they should consistently be in church, behaving like their parents. As the story goes on, and Parson Hooper begins wearing the veil, the children begin to pay him no attention. Hooper believes that it is essential for everyone in the community, bachelors/bachelorettes, adults, and most importantly, children, to rid themselves of their sins and save themselves in order for society to keep going.
Parson Hooper is engaged to be married to Elizabeth, which in turn symbolizes happiness and harmony with the world. But why does Hooper sacrifice his harmony with the world for his harmony with God? As a minister, his main priority is to do God’s work. While speaking to his fiancé Hooper explains his devotion to God when he says, “…this veil is a type and a symbol, and I am bound to wear it ever, both in light and darkness, in solitude and before the gaze of multitudes, and as with strangers, so with my familiar friends. No mortal eye will see it withdrawn. This dismal shade must separate me from the world, even you, Elizabeth, can never come behind it (208)!” In this scene, Elizabeth’s persistency in wanting Hooper to take the veil off leads her to comprehend his reasoning behind it all. When recognizing her sins in the veil, Elizabeth gives Hooper an ultimatum; he either takes the veil off, or he risks losing her love. In the end, Hooper sacrifices his happiness and harmony with Elizabeth to remain in harmony with God.
Hooper’s character begins the story in harmony with the world, himself, and God. He is in harmony with the world because he is respected by society and is engaged to be married to Elizabeth. He is in harmony with himself and God because he is tenacious at keeping his vow to God. Hooper had lost everyone’s respect when he began wearing the black veil, but this did not change his character whatsoever. He remained loyal to his religion with no hesitation. Someone in the church had said, “He has changed himself into something awful, only by hiding his face(203),” showing the readers that Hooper is no longer in harmony with the world. In doing so, he loses the love of his life and his position in the social class.
The Mystifying Black Veil by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne was a writer who wrote stories dealing with the puritan society, most of his work was built on how the puritan society, and how through the faith and fear of the vengeance of God could make people live a better life. He brought over gothic genre to America which is how most of his stories are written. In the story The Ministers Black Veil, Nathaniel Hawthorne was successful in placing many symbols inside of his dark romantic story.
Hawthorne develops a quality of secret around Reverend Hooper’s dark cover. By declining to give pursuers access to Hooper’s purposes behind wearing the veil, he enables pursuers estimate about Hooper’s inspirations. This riddle powers the plot, which rotates around the craving to comprehend the essentialness of the dark cloak. In the story Mr. Hooper was the man who wore this veil over his face, to the people it was very weird to see a man of his classification with this mysterious cloth covering his face. People would gossip about why he decided to put this on and what it meant. Many people thought it was him trying to tell them that he did it because of sins too bad to discuss and other believed it was to set an example that everyone has something deep down that they are hiding that will one day come to the light. This veil had a lot of different perceptions, but the only person who knew the reasons for this black veil was Mr. Hooper. In the literary analysis, what the black veil symbolized will be discussed in detail to create a better picture of what Hawthorne tried to say in the story.
The clergyman as of now deep down bears the network’s wrongdoing by tuning in to their admissions. It is conceivable that the priest made the best forfeit he could, by bearing the transgressions of the network obviously. In doing as such, the network ought to have comprehended and valued his steady help and quality of confidence. Despite what might be expected, they slandered about his transgression as though it were more noteworthy than their own, and as though in observing his outward articulation of wrongdoing, they could ignore their interior violations. At last, the priest brings up how all the townspeople have treated him ineffectively, dismissing their own wrongdoing and concentrating on his. In any case, it appears that they never genuinely comprehended, or apologized, their activities, as the story closes with the horrendous suspected that the pastor’s face still lay behind the cover even in death.
Different translations trust the shroud went about as a mirror, making all the townspeople increasingly mindful of their own wrongdoings. The more mindful they happened to their very own evil nature, the more uneasy they were, and along these lines being around the clergyman and seeing his cover grieved them profoundly, notwithstanding amid cheerful occasions. At long last, different pundits have guaranteed that the pastor had carried out a grave offense, for example, infidelity with the young lady whose burial service he visited, and this was the reason that he couldn’t reveal to Elizabeth what his wrongdoing had been.
Another interesting symbol that the masks is isolation. When he wears it out in the open out of nowhere, he feels a quick boundary go up among him and his parishioners. In the event that the Reverend is to be trusted, that obstruction dependably existed, and the shroud may be lifted in Heaven. This proposes seclusion is humankind’s common condition of being. What is meant by that is that all humans experience a time of isolation in their life when they feel like no one is there for them at an critical moment in their life and that no one can understand where they are coming from because they are ready to open up on what sin they have committed
In the Puritan society, the people believed in being the most purified beings because of the rules and laws of the church of England. So when Reverend Hooper was seen wearing this black veil, people judged him and looked at him a certain way because it was not very pure in their eyes. In the story 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!. This was a terrible thing because no one knew his reasoning behind wearing the veil but Mr. Hooper had his reasons. The townspeople knew the reverend Hooper was a gentlemanly man and very kind and when they noticed that the veil did not change this personality, it confused them even more because he wasn’t a dark and gloomy soul like they expected.
So in order for the people to find out why he boar this veil, they sent in his wife to question him and try to get him to open up on the secret behind the veil. In doing that, she was met with a truth that she could not face. After being interrogated by his wife, Mr. Hooper said if I hide my face for sorrow, there is cause enough, and if I cover it for secret sin, what mortal might not do the same?. In the quote, Hooper was trying to make the veil be looked at as a mirror of anyone who may lay eyes upon it and feel the sin or sorrow that they are keeping within. Hawthorne wanted people to take this a one of the symbols from the veil to show that everyone has something deep down that they struggle with everyday to keep it in and away from the world, that is why Hooper wore the veil; because he had something that he could not tell the townspeople or his wife because of the affect it might do to their hearts and minds. In doing so, he also was showing how pure the people weren’t because they how they judge him. The townspeople reaction was more like them trying to cover up their inherent sin and hypocritical nature and trying to forget their sins either large or small because they had someone else to look upon in a negative way and all the attention would now be off of them.
Another strange event that was going on in the story was the death of a young woman. This woman had no name and was not described in detail but Mr. Hooper’s presence once he arrived at her funeral seemed to have the people question if he knew her in a personal way. In the book it says he leaned so close to the body that if she was alive that she would be able to see the face clearly behind the veil. To the people, they seen him standing over her so close that it looked as if her body were trembling in the coffin from the terror that the veil displays once you stare into its drapes. This young woman in the story symbolized Hooper’s reason for wearing the veil because there was something questionable about him putting on the veil on the same day that her funeral was held on.
Another reason that Mr. Hooper put the veil on is because he wanted people to see their own sins upon him, it would be as if they were looking in the mirror and it reflected their biggest darkest secret aloud. Hooper’s purpose for that though was to show people that you are not hiding from your sins, the only way to get over them and forgiven is if you wear them upon your chest or in this case your face and take responsibility for what you have done instead of letting someone else’s bad decisions or sins cover up for what is really behind the mask. This comes from in the book when Hooper says for the symbol beneath which I have lived, and die! I look around me, and lo! On every visage a black veil.(pg. 694) In this quote , Hooper in on his dying bed and is telling everyone that he has lived his whole adult life wearing the veil and everyone has looked past all the great things he has done because the see the veil and picture something terrible that the minister was hiding but him wearing the veil was also a symbol of everyone in the Puritan society, and most of all the townspeople were either scared or ashamed to admit their own sins.
In conclusion while the cover makes him a social outsider, it does, be that as it may, have the advantage of making him an undeniably increasingly viable minister. He turns into a portrayal of concealed sin and individuals are unnerved when close him however ask for him amid death. Individuals originate from far spots to see the odd hidden priest however leave shaken by what they have heard and seen. Actually, in a minute that is somewhat humorous, he is considered so powerful of a minister that he is solicited to do the decision message from the senator. His quality and lesson is effective to the point that “the administrative proportions of that year were portrayed by all the despair and devotion of our soonest hereditary influence.” He becomes more seasoned and individuals call him “Father Hooper” and have a far off dreadful regard for the horrid man.
As it turns out to be clear the Mr. Hooper is in his last minutes, the Revered Mr. Clark inquires as to whether he is prepared to have the shroud lifted to which the Minister answers, “my spirit hath a patient exhaustion until the point when that cover be lifted.” However, similarly as Mr. Clark goes to evacuate the cover, Mr. Hooper calls a lot of vitality and keeps him from taking it off. He utilizes his last piece of vitality to address everyone around him, saying they ought not be panicked of him, but rather of each other on the grounds that nobody demonstrated to him any pity, all as a result of a basic dark cloak. He says he checks out him and on everybody he sees there is a dark cloak. Everybody contracts back in dread and before anything should be possible or stated, Reverend Hooper bites the dust, still hidden with that equivalent black out grin. They don’t expel the cloak when he goes to the grave.
So the veil has many unclear meanings to the people but no to Hooper who on his death bed gave an impromptu speech on what the veil really meant and through it all he made the people realize that they should wear their sins upon their faces so that the fear of hiding from it does not cause people to act different and wavier their Puritan faith.
Symbolism in The Black Veil
Nathaniel Hawthorne was very craft in how he used symbolism and allegory in each of his short stories and novels. From the forest and Faith’s pink ribbons in Young Goodman Brown, to Hester Pryne’s A in The Scarlet Letter, he had a way of using symbolism has an important feature throughout his works. One of the most iconic symbols in the story The Minister’s Black Veil is the black veil itself, as it pertains to sins and lies.
It shows the complicated dark and hidden side of man, along with the standards of his Puritan society and beliefs. Hawthorne uses the symbolism of the veil to represent the tension between both the minister and his community.
When the minister first walks out of his home wearing the black veil, the townsfolk are astonished. The only reason as to why is because they don’t know why Reverend Hooper is wearing it in the first place. There was but one thing remarkable about his appearance. Swathed about his forehead, and hanging down over his face so low as to be shaken by his breath, Mr. Hooper had on a black veil. On a nearer view it seemed to consist of two folds of crape, which entirely concealed his features, except the mouth and chin, but probably did not intercept his sight, further than to give a darkened aspect to all living and inanimate things. (pg. ??) As a result of this, they begin to create their own mystery and speculations as to why he is wearing it. They’re convincing themselves that the his hiding something, like a deformity of his face or a secret no one is supposed to know about. The veil is also creating a barrier between the townsfolk and the minister during his sermons, thus resulting in controversy within the church itself. The sermon which he now delivered was marked by the same characteristics of style and manner as the general series of his pulpit oratory. But there was something, either in the sentiment of the discourse itself, or in the imagination of the auditors, which made it greatly the most powerful effort that had ever heard from their pastor’s lips. It was tinged, rather more darkly than usual, with the gentle gloom of Mr. Hooper’s temperament. (pg. ??) The minister himself thinks his veil hides his sin from the people, but he’s doing more than that. He hides himself from his community, he hides himself from the woman he loves, he’s become so ashamed of the sin he committed that he never takes the veil off.
The black veil is the inherent symbol of the minister’s sin, but it can also represent how terrible human nature can be. The black veil can represent the secret sin that, not just the minister, but everyone can carry with them. However there is also the assumption that it is a representation of a specific sin Reverend Hooper has committed, which is believed to be adultery, even though the exact sin is never mentioned. The evidence that Minister Hooper committed adultery is referenced in the beginning of the story with the young woman’s funeral, which is when the minister begins to wear the veil. The clergyman stepped into the room where the corpse was laid, and bent over the coffin, to take a last farewell of his deceased parishioner. As he stooped, the veil hung straight down from his forehead, so that, if her eyelids had not been closed forever, the dead maiden might have seen his face. Could Mr. Hooper be fearful of her glance, that he so hastily caught back the black veil? (pg. ??) Reverend Hooper also seems to be unable to tell his fiancee why wears the veil due to a promise that he made, and is not willing to show his face to her even in death. “Have patience with me, Elizabeth!” cried he, passionately. “Do not desert me though this veil must be between us here on earth. Be mine, and hereafter there shall be no veil over my face, no darkness between our souls. It is but a mortal veil; it is not for eternity. Oh, you know not how lonely I am, and how frightened to be alone behind my black veil! (pg. ??)
In a different light, the black veil could represent the Puritans obsession with sin and sinfulness. The reactions to the minister’s veil is one of annoyance and fear. 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. (pg. ??) The one and only difference to the community liking the minister and not is a simple black veil covering his face. The townsfolk are being overly judgemental in nature in their belief on sin, for sinning was an undeniable mistake to them. Hawthorne wanted to show the most hardened of Puritan elders and their reaction to the minister is evidence of just how judgmental even the most seasoned religious person can be when it comes to someone or something different. “Why do you tremble at me alone?” cried he, turning his veiled face round the circle of pale spectators. “Tremble also at each other. Have men avoided me and women shown no pity and children screamed and fled only for my black veil? What but the mystery which it obscurely typifies has made this piece of crape so awful? When the friend shows his inmost heart to his friend, the lover to his best-beloved; when man does not vainly shrink from the eye of his Creator, loathsomely treasuring up the secret of his sin,”then deem me a monster for the symbol beneath which I have lived and die. I look around me, and, lo! on every visage a black veil!”
The minister’s black veil is a clear sign that he is trying to atone for a grave sin. Yet Reverend Hooper is implying that he intended for the veil to be a symbol of the general sinfulness of mankind and nothing specific. At that same time, the veil is a symbol of the superficiality of Puritan society. The townsfolk judge Hooper solely on his appearance, and not his behavior or character, implying that Hooper himself doesn’t change after he puts on the veil, only seeming gloomier to them because of it covering his face. It’s possible that these two interpretations could be one and the same: meaning the townsfolk focus on the veil because they recognize their own yet refuse to acknowledge it.
The theme of Sin and Guilt in The Minister's Black Veil
In Hawthorne’s The Minister’s Black Veil, every single person does sin but only the people who are truly God-fearing and confident accept and pay the consequences of their own actions. In some, predicaments, when someone does own up to their sin and endure the discipline for it, instead of being forgiven the society around will hate them. Back then, the Puritans accepted their minister’s to be the holiest people.
If a minister acts strange then they are suspected of doing something shameful or unholy, the community will then resent him. In The Minister’s Black Veil, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Reverend Hooper’s separation represented through the black veil, shows how everyone surrounding him was judgmental, insensitive, and hypocritical.
The Minister’s Black Veil is a symbolic of the private sins that we bury and isolate ourselves from the ones we love the most. In wearing the veil minister Hooper shows the loneliness that everybody goes through when they are tied up by their own sins. He has realized that everyone typically can be found in the shade of their own veil. By Hooper wearing this veil across his face is only displaying the dark side of people and the accuracy of human existence and nature.
Minister Hooper left the dark veil on because he has noticed that secret sin is a veil that can never disappear from anyone until the day of their death. In a quote from the story Mr. Hooper says, There is an hour to come, when all of us shall cast aside our veils. Take it not amiss, beloved friend, if I wear this piece of crepe till then. By saying this Mr. Hooper symbolizes the feeling although human beings are living on the earth a veil shows their face. Hooper made a pledge to himself and made a life project of acting as a mirror to the people around him. The veil cannot be rose until the freedom of truth can be seen.
When Mr. Hooper puts the black veil on, he is no longer Mr. Hooper, he is a man that everybody is afraid of. His relationship between him and Elizabeth is destroyed because of his hesitation to remove the black veil. Elizabeth cannot accept the fact that Hooper must go the rest of his life without showing his face. After his first sermon, he did not go to old squire Saunders to bless the food, in which he did every Sunday.
As Minister Hooper is dying towards the end of the story, he is by himself and says men avoided me, and women shown no pity and children screamed and fled for my black veil? What but the mystery which it obscurely typifies has made this piece of crape so awful? When the friend shows his inmost heart to his friend, the lover to his best-beloved; when man does not vainly shrink from the eye of his Creator, loathsomely treasuring up the secret of his sin, ”then deem me a monster for the symbol beneath which I have lived and die. I look around me, and, lo! on every visage a black veil!”. The Minister points out how all the townspeople have treated him so low, overlooking their own sins and paying attention to his. But it looks as if they never truly understood, or apologized, their behavior, as the story closes with the awful thought that the minister’s face is still laying behind the veil, even in death.
The minister they had once desired for happiness and relief has become an ugly, baffling stranger that no one can recognize. The believers feel as though Minister Hooper can grasp their souls and see all the flaws and sins hidden in them. As said in the story, Each member of the congregation, the most innocent girl, and the man of most hardened breast felt as if the preacher had crept upon them, behind his awful veil, and discovered their hoarded iniquity of deed or thought. Because of his pledge, the minister is involuntarily forced into a life of loneliness, always lacking achievement and happiness. The eyes are the window to your soul, while not being able to see Mr. Hooper’s eye, the believers become anxious and annoying. The eyes make it available for others to found out your feeling and emotions. Mr. Hooper creates a tough loneliness that makes it preposterous for people to accept him.
The body is like a shell, the eyes are an open way to the real you. From the first day of the veil going onto the minister’s face everyone’s thoughts changed about him. He becomes a problem, distant and feared. Mr. Hooper hadn’t changed at all. He is the same sir with the smirk decorating his face. The only thing he did was add a simple cloth across his face and the minster they had once knew is a stranger in their eyes.
The character of Reverend Hooper in The Minister's Black Veil
Sometimes in society, people criticize others for being different because of their race, religion, class, or creed. Nathaniel Hawthorne clearly shows this in the story The Minister’s Black Veil. In this story, A man named Mr.hooper, a reverend in the town of Milford, chooses to wear a black veil and his friends and family alienated because of this. Throughout The Minister’s Black Veil Nathaniel Hawthorne uses imagery to illustrates judgment, insensitive, and hypocritical in reverend hooper society surrounding him.
At the beginning of the story, Reverend Hooper has a sermon where he talks about people trying to cover their sins from the world, but God will see everyone’s sins. God will see each person for who they truly are .”Why do you tremble at me alone? Cried he, turning his veiled face round the circle of pale spectators. “Tremble also at each other”…”I look around me and, lo! On every visage a Black Veil!” (606). Reverend Hooper puts on the veil to hide from everyone so they could not see him. The veil shows that reverend hooper is hiding his sins from everyone. He wears the veil because with the veil he doesn’t have to see his dishonest face. The black curtain allows him to become “a man of awful power over souls that were in agony for sin” (604). The reverend lives a lonely and dishonorable life. It was not until he was dead that everyone around him started to understand the meaning of the black veil.
The revered hooper was alienating himself. After the wedding, he was looking at himself in the looking-glass, and the black veil involved his own spirit in the honor with which it overwhelmed all others (Hawthorne 258). The Veil covered his face from the sun and rain. It kept him from his deepest regrets and fears. The minister didn’t want to face himself and decided he didn’t want anyone else to look at his face either. The only person who seemed to see his face and understand him were lifeless corpses. As the reverend paid his respect to the dead maid the veil hung straight drown from his forehead (Hawthorne 255), and a superstitious woman claimed, the corpse had slightly shuttered (Hawthorne 255). When the reverend put the black veil over his face, he intended to keep himself from the sight of his face.
The theme of Puritanism and Piety in The Minister's Black Veil
The story is about when Reverend Hooper enters the church to give a sermon. On this day, the reverend was different because he had a unique dressing style. He had a black veil, which covered the larger part of his face apart from the mouth and chin.
People were surprised with the dressing style of reverend on this day (Colacurcio, 373). However, when he began to deliver the sermon, the congregation was unusually moved. The reverend starts by greeting the congregation but people felt astonished and no one was ready to interact with him. Hooper’s veil become relevant during the funeral in the afternoon. She bends down towards the body as his veil hangs down. In this case, the reverend believed that the she could see his face if she were alive. After viewing the body, he covered his face with the black veil. He then walks out of the church and left people in suspense. Some people asserted that he could be walking with woman’s ghost. Finally, he presided over the wedding in the same evening while in the same dressing code.
Many people questioned the dressing style of Reverend Hooper but they could not gather strength and ask him. Some people believed that the reverend was insane because he appeared in a unique dressing code. Consequently, certain people perceived him as sinner and he could be atoning for participating in a crime by hiding his face. A section of the congregation decided to go and see him but could not inquire about his veil. Elizabeth, fiancee of the reverend was the only person who did not fear him despite appearing in an astonishing dressing code. Elizabeth played a pivotal role by creating ease among the congregation. She demanded the reverend to uncover his face and explain to the people the reason for appearing in such a dressing code. Elizabeth warned her fiancee that people were talking ill about the dressing code. For example, she explained to the reverend that the congregation believed he committed a grave sin. However, Hooper declined to uncover his face and asserted that all people were sinners. After that, Reverend Hooper begged Elizabeth to live with him forever because he was lonely. He also promised Elizabeth that their reunion would make his veil to come off. Elizabeth was not at ease because he believed the reverend was evil. She was afraid of the veil and decided to break off their engagement. Hooper then later remained isolated from the rest of Milford.
Despite the fact that people perceived Reverend Hooper as a sinner, the veil made the reverend an impressive preacher. His sermons were different when he wore the veil. For example, before wearing the veil, his sermons sounded mild and pleasant. People also believed in his speeches when he did not wear the veil. The narrator of this story suggests the sermons are not that different hence the reverends are supposed to deliver similar sermons. Other people also believed that the black veil converted them into Christianity. Precisely, Hooper gained reputation across New England.
After some years, Reverend Hooper fall sick and Elizabeth was nursing him in the deathbed. Despite the fact that they did not marry each other, Elizabeth still loved reverend Hooper. Some clergymen including Reverend Clark praised his moral reputation while he was in the deathbed. Hooper was still putting on his veil while lying on the bed. The clergymen pleaded with him to allow them to remove his veil to see his face. However, he remained ardent that his veil should not be lifted on earth. This persistent prompted Reverend Clark to ask him what made him to hide his face. He asked reverend Clark why Milford feared him for that long instead of fearing each other. He also asserted that he could be condemned after all people confessing their dishonesty and feel free with each other (Sadoff 247). In this case, he confirmed that the dishonesty of people made him to wear the black veil in his face. He did not want to see dishonest people. The clergymen were shocked because Hooper did not want to uncover his face. As a result, the clergymen decided to bury him with his face covered.
Religion is one of the themes that come out clearly from this story. The narrator brings forth tenets of puritans. The story takes place in a puritan community with unique understanding of the role of religion in the society. The puritans were Christian Protestants who existed in early 1600s. However, the rulers banished them from the country for having subversive beliefs. After that, they moved to certain parts of America to establish small colonies. According to the puritans, ell human beings were sinners by default because they inherited it from Adam and Eve who were the first human beings to live on earth. For this reason, they believed that education and morals were the only ways of entering the Kingdom of God. They lived a simple life to avoid troubles and sins (Levine 374). For example, they did not believe in dancing, singing, wearing bright colors or playing. They concentrated on their piety and believed their behaviors were outward manifestation of their good deeds.
Hawthrone also dig deeper to bring out the conflict between Hooper who believed in puritanism and Milford. At the onset, the town’s people are thinking secular as they make their ways to church. Some people were laughing while others were admiring the opposite sex. Hooper decided to cover his face using black veil as a sign of believing in puritan virtues. He behaved in a way that opposed the beliefs of Milford. For example, he did not have the pleasure of marriage and friendship (Glausser 375). When Elizabeth failed to love him, he decided to be alone. Hooper remained solid that he did not mind what people said about him. He asserted that he was concerned with the reward in the heaven instead of earning marks from the human beings.
The narrator of this story also brings forth the flaws and contradictions of puritanism. Reverend Hooper covered his face with the intention of attracting the attention of people while delivering sermon. However, people had a conflicting perception about the black veil. They believed that Hooper committed a grave sin that made him to cover his face. People pleaded with him to uncover his face but he refused because he was trying to observe and obey the virtues of puritans. The narrator also brings out the aspect of love in the story. The love between Elizabeth and Hooper did not work out because of the conflicting beliefs. Elizabeth feared the black veil of Reverend Hooper while the reverend expected Elizabeth to love him regardless of the black veil that covered his face.
Minister's Black Veil Essays: Father Hooper
The Minister’s Black Veil is a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne that’s all about guilt, sin, hypocrisy, and love. This story holds a powerful message which through many, or most of the events in it you would have to form your own understandings and ideas. The Minister’s Black Veil is a story which illustrates moral and spiritual lessons.
Throughout this essay I will more so be talking about the main character Hooper, his experiences, peoples judgement, as well as my notion of the meaning and reason for the decision he made which he would stick with for the rest of his life.
Parson Hooper shows up to church one morning with a black veil covering the features of his face. Right away, people begin whispering about why this man is wearing a black veil. The people didn’t believe it was their minister at first and thought it might be another. Once they realized it was their minster the people began to think he had gone mad while others said he might be covering up a bad sin. In time children became scared of him and adults continued to speak about him making their own assumptions about why he covered his face with a black veil. Despite the fact people are curious about it, no one ever had the courage to directly ask him why he decided to suddenly wear a veil. The only person who ever asked him directly why he wore it was his fiancee, Elizabeth. He would not ever tell her why he did let alone anyone else, he always kept to himself about it. This caused their relationship to go downhill and Elizabeth couldn’t handle not knowing why he didn’t want to show his face to her or atleast explain why he decided to do that. She ended up leaving him because of it although she did love him. Most people begin distancing themselves and they started treating him as if he was a sinner and had done something terrible, most people grew terrified of him for wearing a black veil because of what they thought might be behind it. From him people started to see their own sins and many began to go see him to confess their sins. Other dying sinners weeping aloud for him until they had seen him, some just came from long distances to attend his service with the purpose of gazing at his figure since it was forbidden to see his face.
The thing Parson was most afraid of was someone, anyone looking behind his veil, that included himself. He never dared to look at himself for he didn’t want people to see him as he seen himself. After he made the decision to cover his face and for no one to see it no matter who it might be it also included himself but mistakenly he caught a glimpse of himself. When Mr.Hooper attended a wedding service, people became astonished as soon as they laid eyes on him, figuring he was the minister by his clothing the people of the wedding became upset, afraid, and confused. They felt that it was inappropriate to wear a black veil to a wedding as a minister. Parson raised his glass of wine to take a sip celebrating the couple’s marriage and as he raised his glass he caught a glimpse of himself. The black veil hanging over his face, wrapped around his forehead hanging down low it moved from the air of his breath. At that instant seeing his own reflection and the horror that overwhelmed all other people he became overwhelmed himself as he dropped his glass and ran into the night. The day after all the townspeople were talking about him and the mystery under the black veil, meeting up at different spots to speak about him from the night before and the meaning behind the face covering.
Some people thought he wore the veil to cover up a really bad sin he had done, he had gone mad, was absent minded, or was ashamed of something but no one ever knew the real reason behind it. When Mr.Hooper was much older, in the hospital, and knew it was his time he began to realize all the things that piece of crepe had put between him and his world. He thought about how it separated him from loving his wife, brotherhood, happiness, his own heart, and kept him sad and apart from the world and himself.
Through it all Elizabeth was there at his bedside and another minister to see if he was ready for his veil to be removed since he didn’t have much time left. The minister asked if he was ready to lift his veil which would shut in time for eternity. He said he was ready to take it off but seemed hesitant and as he proceeded to remove it he felt a sudden energy and snatched both his hands from beneath the bed, and pressed them forcefully against the black veil, he began to yell that he would never remove the veil or show his face to anyone even after death. He starts asking everyone in the room why they would only be terrified of him and not everyone to each other since they all have secret sins. He says that because of his veil adults and children were terrified of him and men avoided him because of the symbol underneath his veil, under their assumptions which he would live and die beneath. As he looks around he explains to everyone that he sees a black veil in all people and every person has a secret sin they’re ashamed of so he doesn’t understand why he’s feared and judged for having something all people have.
In the end he basically lets the people in the room know that he feels he shouldn’t let go of what he believes after all he went through with people. How men would distance themselves from him, woman and children were terrified with the assumptions made about what might be under his veil. He never tells anyone the actual reason he wears the veil but he does tell everyone in the end they all have sins and everyone fears him for that reason as he hides his sins with his veil and everyone else hides their sins so why is he being judged the way he is. I believe he just wants them to understand that they all have sins and he shouldn’t be judged and terrified of for the way he handles his and what he did because everyone has their sins that they would not want to tell to anyone because they’re scared and ashamed of them.
Minister's Black Veil Assessment
While Mr. Hooper gives a sermon on concealed sin, the parishioners _____.
* A. feel he is looking into their souls
B. strain to hear his muffled voice
C. wonder what sin he has committed
D. think about their neighbors’ sins
Read the following quotation. What does it reveal about the symbol of the black veil? But even amid his grief, Mr. Hooper smiled to think that only a material emblem had separated him from happiness, though the horrors which it shadowed forth must be drawn darkly between the fondest of lovers.
* A. The veil has power because it symbolizes something darker.
B. The veil, and not sin, separates him from his happiness.
C. The veil symbolizes the sins that fill Elizabeth’s soul.
D. All lovers keep secrets, and the veil is a symbol of Mr. Hooper’s secret love.
What does this quotation about Mr. Hooper reveal about the possible social constraints of Puritan culture? . . . a man apart from men, shunned in their health and joy, but ever summoned to their aid in moral anguish.
A. Sins are ignored during celebrations.
B. Men will not admit when they are sick.
* C. Anguish causes people to turn to ministers.
D. Secrets are present in both happy and sad times.
How does Mr. Hooper’s veil affect the wedding?
A. It makes everyone leave.
* B. It ruins the event.
C. It makes the event more fun, like a costume party.
D. It causes a fight.
Why does Mr. Hooper leave the wedding party early?
* A. He catches sight of himself in a mirror.
B. The wedding has become too wild.
C. It is time for him to go home and pray.
D. The bride and groom ask him to leave.
What characteristic of Puritan culture do these lines most likely suggest? Beloved and respected as you are, there may be whispers that you hide your face under the consciousness of secret sin.
A. Secret sins were the only topic of conversation.
B. People are interested in only the minister.
C. Ministers are considered beyond discussion.
* D. People discuss the private lives of everyone.
What meaning does the following quotation most likely reveal about the symbol of the black veil? All through life that piece of crepe had hung between him and the world: it had separated him from cheerful brotherhood and woman’s love, and kept him in that saddest of all prisons, his own heart. . . .
A. Some people have an everlasting sadness in them.
B. Puritans have happy relationships.
C. People spend time only with happy people.
* D. Sin can stop relationships from forming.
Mr. Hooper most likely says that everyone wears a black veil because he _____.
* A. believes that everyone is sinful
B. wishes people could be more honest
C. thinks people are beyond redemption
D. wants to encourage suspicion
Which is a value that the Puritans held.
A. They understood that no one is sinless.
* B. They tried to be sinless.
C. They believed ministers were sinners too.
D. They were forgiving of all, even ministers.
Symbols often reveal the theme of a short story. What does the black veil represent?
A. Love for all humans, even when they are imperfect.
B. Respect for ministers, even when they are sinful.
* C. Sin that separates a person from others and God.
D. Hatefulness in everyone.
Table of Test Specifications
Standard: RL3 – Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story.
Title of Unit of Study: The Minister’s Black Veil
Grade Level: 11
Content Area: Language Arts
Total Points: 10
Type of Items: Multiple Choice
Bloom’s Taxonomy Cognitive Levels Number/ Percent of Items Per Level
When presented with a story, imagine what it would be like to live in that setting with those activities taking place alongside those characters by providing three accurate examples.
When presented with a story, identify the correct meaning of the author’s words and plot development with 80% accuracy.
When presented with a story, analyze the word choices and techniques that build plot development, and use the conclusions to make correct inferences with 80% accuracy.
Standard: RL3 – Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story.
1) When presented with a story, imagine what it would be like to live in that setting with those activities taking place alongside those characters by providing three examples.
2) When presented with a story, identify the correct meaning of the author’s words and plot development with 80% accuracy.
3) When presented with a story, analyze the word choices and techniques that build plot development, and use the conclusions to make correct inferences with 80% accuracy.
Grade Level: 11
Content Area: Language Arts
Unit Title: The Minister’s Black Veil
Length of Unit: 1 week
Description of Unit of Study: Students will study a one-week unit on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Minister’s Black Veil and will analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of his story. Students will build upon pre-assessment knowledge, new vocabulary, and knowledge of symbol use before reading the short story. During the story, students will imagine what it was like to live as a character in the story and analyze the impact of the use of symbols and other word choices/techniques.
Content and/or Essential Questions
Knowledge and Skills
1) What word choices and techniques build the plot?
2) What do the author’s words mean and how can I relate them to myself?
3) What knowledge and skills do I need in order to see how these words are developing the plot?
4) How will my knowledge of the use of a symbol in Hawthorne’s writing affect my perceptions of symbols used today?
5) What would it be like to live in this story’s setting, with these activities happening around these characters?
6) What inferences can I make about the impact of these word choices? How can I apply this new literature knowledge today? – Self-knowledge
Cultural traits of Puritans
Unity of effect
Ways to make inferences
Pre-test: Day 1
Formative assessment: Days 2 & 4
Performance task: Symbolism/Inferences stations
Summative, end-of-unit assessment: Day 5
Student Reflection: Day 5
Open with How does someone become a stranger? presentation. Quickwrite about personal experience.
Symbolism, unity of effect, Puritan life, and new vocabulary review.
Symbolism examination activity at stations, inferring then matching symbols with abstract ideas.
Read first half of story.
Symbolism/making inferences modeling at midpoint.
Read second half of story.
Discussion and Quickwrite: What word choices and techniques built the plot and what inferences did you make about the impact of these choices?
Holt McDougal Powernotes presentation
Symbolism matching game cards
Holt McDougal American Literature book