The Minister's Black Veil
Metaphorically Speaking and Short Description of The Minister’s Black Veil
The most common features that people hide are their downfalls. For example, when we commit something wrong, we tend to express ourselves differently to avoid our flaws. People hide their wrongdoings so others won’t ridicule what they have gone through. The truth will sometimes require fighting in order to reveal itself.A parable is a brief story that can give spiritual advice. The Minister’s Black Veil is a parable because of its moral message through a religious setting. The speech of Mr. Hooper connects the veil with the secret sins of the world. In the footnote, the priest accidentally shot his friend and killed him. Once the priest’s friend died he decided to wear a veil for the rest of his life and promised to never remove it. The author was trying to show how a commitment can change someone’s character. Mr. Hooper’s commitment was put to the test when his future wife asked him to take off the veil so that she could see his face. The beginning of the story began in Milford, New England with a joyful atmosphere. The setting gave a feeling of a placid Sunday morning. This mood was interrupted when Mr. Hooper revealed himself among the people of the Church. His appearance with the veil is not at all normal for a minister to wear when entering a place of worship. This immediately led to a mysterious plot of the story. Before the appearance of Mr. Hooper in his dark veil, we learn that he was a courteous honorable man.
The confusion and wonder reveal his change as unsuitable for the minister they knew before. It is unexpected that someone as religious as Mr. Hooper will wear a black veil over his head, foreshadowing something darker between him and his congregation. The black veil symbolizes how terrible a secret sin can be within human nature. Hooper said, “He perhaps, like other mortals, has sorrows enough to be typified by a black veil.” Revealing that there is an invisible conflict that is among everyone and the black veil emphasizes the truth to be presented. The congregation’s reaction was filled with terror. An old woman expressed her emotions by saying, “He has changed himself into something awful, only by hiding his face.” Demonstrating that a black veil is terrifying to witness over someone’s emotional expressions. Mr. Hooper relates to the old woman’s comments when saying, “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?” Revealing that their reaction was exactly what the minister needed to help reveal the invisible veils we wear. The “darkened aspect” shows a different viewpoint from the minister and the decision he chose toward life. It also reveals that everyone has committed a sin, even those who serve the Church. It also foreshadows the effect it will have on Mr. Hoopers throughout the story. When Mr. Hooper leans over the coffin. the veil shifts into a position were the young lady could see his face if she had not died. He fears that the dead maiden might be able to read his secrets. The minister then puts the veil back into the the appropriate position. He will later tell Elizabeth that “it is but a mortal veil – it is not for eternity!” This reveals that in the afterlife there is no purpose for the veil because there is no need to hide one’s secret.
The hidden imperfections are all revealed and judged only by God. The topic on the day Mr. Hooper appeared with the veil was about secret sin. The subject perfectly expressed the minister’s appearance and his purpose about human actions. This leads the reader to think differently about a veil and its visibility within an individual. The disgrace that Mr. Hooper experiences throughout the story helps us visualize how terrifying human nature can be when we truly reveal ourselves from inside. The veil affects the wedding in a gloomy way. The author said it could “Porten nothing but evil to the wedding.”The wedding guests also believed that the pale bride resembles the maiden who was buried a few hours ago. Nonetheless, the anxiety from the guests was reflected upon Mr. Hooper’s own image through the wine glass. Symbolizing the dark nature of a visible veil. Elizabeth does not see the veil as something sinister. Instead, she feels that it just hides her husband’s face rather than a darker secret. Elizabeth knows her husband’s character and believes that the veil is temporary and can be removed simply by persuading him. She became unsuccessful and left him due to his persistent manner of continuing wearing the veil. The black veil was like a mirror to the congregation. The dark visual aspects that the veil contained reflected upon what humanity hides. Mr. Hooper’s position as a clergyman inspired his audience to really understand what God expects from them. The veil’s dark nature also “enabled him to sympathize with all dark affections.”
Allowing the minister to have impactful preaching skills. The black veil devasted Mr. Hooper’s life. Ever since his first appearance with the veil, no one in his community gave a positive emotional response to the idea. An old woman muttered,” I Don’t like it.” Mr. Hooper is trying to express the sins of humanity. He is like any other person who eventually gave in to temptation, even religious members of the church have experienced this. We sometimes do not realize our actions until after the vent. The only human that did not commit a sin, however, was Jesus. Let’s question ourselves instead of how we can avoid and improve from these poor decisions rather than look back to what we did. Elizabeth assumes that Mr. Hooper decided to wear the veil only because of a secret sin but in reality, he tells Elizabeth that his veil is a “symbol.” Mr. Hooper said, “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!’ Indicating that if humans behaved according to God’s precepts, there was no purpose for wearing the black veil. People try to blend in with others in order to hide their flaws. Some people are kind while others express themselves in an unfriendly manner. It is usually the caring individuals that hide an imperfection. We commonly look at the visual aspects of a person rather than what their “veil” or heart hides. Metaphorically speaking, veils are worn to hide our imperfections and weaknesses to avoid judgment from others. Our appearances can hide what we conceal within ourselves. Some do not want to express their flaws publicly while others do so in the hopes of sharing a learning experience.
Nonetheless, without a “veil” we may seek the “truth” within us and live without any visual deception, but the chances of that happening are very unlikely. I wear the same veil as the community which is to behave accordingly to what others expect from you. You normally don’t feel anything that can affect you in any way. However, when you lie you do feel a sense of guilt knowing the truth. No matter the situation, having a reputation of dishonesty will affect a person throughout time. Although I don’t lie frequently, wisdom can help me detect if my actions are morally right or wrong. A video game called “Halo” has ties with Mr. Hooper’s actions when an extraterrestrial ally is trying to help the protagonist eliminate the Hierarchs. This ally is known as the “Arbiter” who is severely judged by humans for his appearance. He leaves the dreadful past against a parasitic outbreak and the false beliefs on salvation when discovering the truth. Aside from the criticism and bad reputation with humans, he eventually will follow his conscience to do what is right. A single alien presence does not constitute hostility but instead assists humanity, let alone know the differences between good and evil. When we are guilty of lying it is hard for us to trust others who might do the same action against us. When there is a lack of trust it becomes harder to figure out who is trying to help us and who is trying to deceive us.
The Minister’s Black Veil And The Pit And The Pendulum
There are many people in this world, you see the good and the evil, but even the good people have sinned or have something evil about them. The Minister’s Black Veil and the Pit and the Pendulum are two short stories written in completely different content but yet still very similar. Dealing with people not wanting to accept what they have done wrong or that they have sinned, being tortured and terrified. Both these stories are dark, creepy, and gothic with one about people being accepting the other about terror and torture. Yet they still find a way to teach a very important lesson and have similar points and ideas that go along with it.
Death is something we all fear and like to believe won’t happen to us, but we all have to face it at some point. In “The Minister’s Black Veil” the veil represents sin. How everyone sins in their life and no one is sin-free not even the minister who is supposed to be the top. He wears it so everyone knows that death will eventually come and will claim you and your sins. “There is an hour to come when all of us shall cast aside our veils”. In “The Pit and the Pendulum” the prisoner is being tutored and has no will to survive anymore. He fears the pit and everything he is surrounded by, he believes if he jumps he will end all the pain because death was better than surviving at that point. ‘I was sick – sick unto death with that long agony.’ We all go through pain but our decisions in life and what we do next is what determines everything. That’s what the minister was trying to tell his congregation by wearing the veil and that’s something the prisoner needed to learn.
The congregation doesn’t understand where the minister is coming from and why he is wearing the veil. The minister 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?” try to get the people across that something it’s ok to hide, but don’t hide behind sins because then what kind of person are you trying to pretend to be. The Minister was sent to isolation by his congregation for trying to show the people their wrong doings. The prisoner was sentenced to death by the soldiers. In this way both the main characters from the short stories were put to shame and put in isolation. Even though the minister was someone people were supposed to trust and thought highly of they treated him very bad even though he was trying to help. The prisoner was being tutored and treated terribly by the soldiers. Even though the minister was tutored like the prisoner was he still was being treated bad just in a different way. His own people doubted him and didn’t believe in him.
Fear is something else that makes everyone uncomfortable, something everyone has and doesn’t want to face. The congregation was afraid to hear that they have sinned, they are afraid to accept that they aren’t perfect. The Prisoner in “The Pit and the Pendulum” was afraid of everything around him. He was being tutored and taunting by the pendulum and other tutoring devices. The pit was placed to represent fear itself. The minister was someone high in the church he represented good but still had evil parts to him and he still had feared. The prisoner was someone who was evil enough to be sentenced to death and feared everything around him.
Both these stories use unusual dark events to interest the reader.
Teaching us people aren’t always what they seem, good can be evil and evil may be good. The minister’s veil was to represent the sins and to show everyone that you have to accept the fact that you sinned to be saved, if not death can come and claim you. Even after the minister died no one understood what was his reasoning behind the veil, they never listened to him.”in this manner, Mr. Hooper spent a long life, irreproachable in outward act, yet shrouded in dismal suspicions; kind and loving, though unloved, and dimly feared; a man apart from men”. The prisoner was giving up and was ready for all the pain to end and he jumps into the pit to end the fear. Everything happens for a reason, and light can come out of even the darkest situations.
Sinners Vs The Black Veil
Jonathan Edwards, a Puritan minister preached about Puritan beliefs through strong diction and imagery that created a sense of fear and urgency in his followers. “The Minister’s Black Veil”by Nathaniel Hawthorne and “Sinners in the Hands of the Angry God” by Jonathan Edwards bring forth two different approaches with Puritan beliefs. They both compare and contrast the effects of sin and belief loyalty. I would describe Jonathan Edwards as angry and intense. Parson Hooper changes the readers view of Puritan ideas of religion by basing the example on Puritan beliefs.
Edwards and Hawthorne appeal to various emotions to better express their beliefs. In “Sinners in the Hands of the Angry God” Edwards says “There are black clouds of God’s wrath now hanging directly over your heads, full of the dreadful strom, and big thunder. ” The use of negative infernal language allows Edwards to create fear and guilt in his readers. Edward’s goal is to get his readers to feel remorse for their sins, and he believes he can accomplish this by using fear. While Jonathan Edwards uses gloomy words. Nathaniel Hawthorne attempts to set an example of the Puritan beliefs. Hawthorne states “ Swathed about his forehead, and hanging down over his face, so low as to be shaken by his breath. ” Hawthorne uses Parson Hooper to taunt the false virtue of the Puritans. Parson Hooper believes in expressing the way to regret instead of scaring his readers into drawing that conclusion, but his readers rejection of Hooper and his veil despite his loyalty expresses how insecure they were.
In Hawthorne’s story he isn’t so forward in what he is trying to say. He uses the Minister and his black veil to present an image on the surface but a entire story underneath. The Minister masks his “sin” through the black veil. This is different in comparison to Edwards very forward to the point sermon. Edwards writes about how dammed humankind is. He talks of what will occur is not accept God into your heart. “The Wrath of God is like great waters that are damned for the present. ” This uninviting view was given in the favor of coercion toward a new life in God.
As you can see both of these stories touch on religion but in a different way. Edwards is straight to his point in his sermon and Hawthorne covers up the true meaning of his story at first. The contrast in the author’s advance toward expressing religion show the readers different visions and outcomes. These imbalances lead readers to better comprehend the authors individual points. The result of setting an example has a more notable effect than words without exertion which manifests that Hawthorne’s style is more powerful than Edwards.
Internal Conflict in The Minister’s Black Veil
Facing Inner Demons
“The Minister’s Black Veil” by Nathaniel Hawthorne is about an old minister who through his own inner demons hopes to teach his community how to live with theirs. The story begins with Mr. Hooper, the church’s minister, entering service with a mysterious black veil over his face, causing quite a stir among his parishioners. Mr. Hooper delivers a sermon on secret sin and the things people hide in their hearts, which causes the congregation to wonder what secret sin the minister’s black veil represented. Later on the Minister presents a funeral sermon and a wedding while wearing the veil, much to the dismay and discomfort of the bride. During these few hours no one dared to ask the minister to remove the veil or explain its presence except for his fiancée. When Mr. Hooper’s fiancée asks why he wears the veil he claims it is a sign of his sorrows and refuses to remove it, leading to her leaving him. After the ministers fiancée left him many people did not ask about the veil anymore. Mr. Hooper has gradually become a highly respected minister in New England, notwithstanding the black barrier. On the Ministers deathbed Reverend Clark tries to persuade him to remove the veil. His reply: “Why do you tremble at me alone? 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 on every visage a Black Veil!” (Hawthorne 2275) In the end the minister is buried, wearing the veil. Robert Louis Stevenson said “the cruelest lies are often told in silence.” Character, setting and internal conflict reveal that the Minister’s secret sin is adultery.
First, character reveals that the minister’s secret sin is adultery. When Reverend Hooper’s fiancée ask him why he chooses to wear the black veil he fails to give an answer. His refusal to provide an explanation reveals that his character is secretive. Knowing that Mr. Hooper is a person that keeps secrets, allows one to assume that he is hiding his infidelity from his fiancée. Furthermore, this maintains the idea of the minister’s possible infidelity. When Mr. Hooper is talking to his fiancée he tells her so far as his vow may suffer him he must wear his black veil. Vows are written promises of loyalty people say to their fiancée’s before marriage. If Mr. Hooper’s vows are causing him to suffer, this uncovers the characters discontent with his soon to be marriage. For the reason that Mr. Hooper is unhappy with his current engagement, an assumption can be made that he chose to find happiness in someone else, strengthening the notion of his unfaithfulness. Before Mr. Hooper’s death a reference is made regarding the faint smile seen on his face, revealing that his character was happy to die. Seeing that the minister was happy to die, means he had a reason to not want to live. Assuming the minister did in fact commit adultery, creates the presumption that his actions caused him to feel guilty. Making it is safe to assume that the minister was happy when he died because he was being relieved of the guilt of his sins, sustaining the belief that Minister Hooper engaged in an extramarital relationship.
Second setting reveals that the Ministers secret sin is adultery. The first place Mr. Hooper is introduced is on the porch of the Milford meeting house. Milford is a town located in Worcester County, Massachusetts, a state that was founded by the puritans. The Puritans were a religious minority group who migrated to the New World seeking to create a model religious community. Since the church where the minister preaches is in Massachusetts, an assumption can be made that it is a Puritan Church. One of the Puritans most frowned upon sins is adultery. If the church is Puritan the setting reveals that if the minister did in fact commit adultery the community would not respect him. This lack of respect would give him a reason to feel ashamed, causing him to wear the black veil, preserving the impression of his indiscretions. On the header of the second page it states this account occurs in the early nineteenth century between 1860 and 1865. During this time in Massachusetts not only was adultery frowned upon it was illegal and penalized by death. These details of the setting reveals that if Mr. Hooper told anyone about his secret sin he would be put to trial by death. Mr. Hooper, empowered by this knowledge, chose to prove a point to the public by wearing his black veil instead of accepting his fate, confirming the sense of an adulterous secret. In the chamber where the minister lies awaiting his death the room is lit by shaded candlelight. Candlelight represents purification and cleansing. Since the minister’s death chamber is completely lit by candlelight symbolically it has a setting of purification. Based on the staging of the room a conclusion can be made that the minister’s choice to die in this setting was to purify him of his infidelity before his death, which keeps consistent with the narrative of his affair.
Lastly conflict reveals that the ministers secret sin is adultery. After Mr. Hooper performs the wedding ceremony he gives a toast wishing happiness to the new married couple. During this toast Mr. Hooper catches a glimpse of his reflection in his wine glass causing him to spit out his drink and disappear into the darkness. Mr. Hooper’s reaction to his reflection reveals an internal conflict towards his appearance, mainly the black veil on his face. Given that Mr. Hooper spit out his water after seeing the black veil, it is safe to assume that he is disgusted by the sight of the mask because it is a reminder of his secret sin. Being a minister of a church where adultery is an unforgivable sin, a conclusion can be made that his actions caused him to constantly bear a feeling of disgust, demonstrating evidence that supports the claim that he committed adultery. When Mr. Hooper is talking to his fiancée about why he wears the black veil he says, “I, perhaps, like most other mortals, have sorrows dark enough to be typified by a black veil.”(Hawthorne 2272) Hooper’s response to his fiancée’s question reveals another internal conflict within him, his sorrow. Since the minister says his sorrows are dark enough to be covered by a black veil, there is an implication that this agony is caused by the guilt of his disloyalty to his mate. Hopper’s obvious remorse continues to paint an image of his cheating. After one of Mr. Hooper’s sermons the physician of the village said, “the black veil, though it cover only our pastor’s face, it throws its influence over his whole person, and makes him ghost like from head to foot.” (Hawthorne 2269) The physician’s observation reveals that Mr. Hooper feels dead inside confirming the concept of his internal conflict. The black veil, a representation of his secret sin, makes him ghost like to the townspeople. If the minister truly commited adultery, then the shame of his wrongdoing caused him to feel dead inside, further upholding the adulterous impression.
On August 2, 2012 in Mali a group of Islamists forced a man and a woman into a hole and stoned them to death for committing adultery. The man and the woman were both married and even though the woman had two small children she was still put to death.The Islamists aggression towards those two natives shows that some people still strongly stand against adultery. If people still murder for adultery now knowing its illegal imagine the fear the minister had after committing an infidelity when murder was legal. This fear eventually lead to the minister hiding his sin behind a veil instead of being honest in order to save his life.
Characteristic Of Mr. Hooper From The Minister’s Black Veil
Unveiling the Minister
The short story, “The Minister’s Black Veil” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a gripping and tragic story, describing the life of a preacher named Mr. Hooper after he places a black veil on his head. For the majority of the story, Mr. Hooper is an admirable character, which is shown through the reasoning behind his actions, his devotion, his morality, and the perspective of the story. The only aspect of the story where Mr. Hooper is misguided lies within the method he uses to reveal his beliefs to the parishioners. The unrelenting persistence he shows in not taking off the veil reveals how strong of a character he really has. What he does is so benign, simply placing a veil over his face, yet the mystery of what it conceals creates a rift between him and his community.
To begin with, Mr. Hooper can be seen as admirable through his actions of putting on the black veil and his reasoning behind it. Although in the story it does not disclose what event directly led him to put on the veil, it can be inferred as a message from God, considering Mr. Hooper is a minister. Right at the beginning of the story, the tone is one of joy as all of the parishioners wait for the minister in the “Sabbath sunshine” (1). Once the minister is spotted, the tone of optimism is crushed, instead becoming solemn and mysterious. Along with the atmosphere of the story, the parishioners also have a change in emotion. The reason behind this abrupt alteration in attitude is the minister, Mr. Hooper, or rather what he wears upon his face: a black piece of fabric covering his eyes and nose. How the townspeople initially react is reasonable; they are confused at this change in appearance. Mr. Hooper, however, does not notice the confusion and acts as if the black veil is not an object of concern, still “nodding kindly” (2) to those around him.
In other circumstances, the black veil would seem innocent. In this case, as Mr. Hooper continues to wear the fabric, it emits an overriding gloom and strikes fear into the hearts of everyone. In a sense, terror is exactly what Mr. Hooper hopes to instill in every man, woman, and child; not fear of Mr. Hooper himself, but of each other. The reason Mr. Hooper puts on the veil is to expose everyone for who they truly are: mortal sinners and liers. Mr. Hooper does not try to be subtle in his meaning for wearing the veil. During the congregation after the veil is exposed, Mr. Hooper preaches about the “secret sin” that man hides in vain from both his “own consciousness” and “the Omniscient” (3). These words directly reveal the motive behind the veil, and as a minister, he has most likely preached similar words. While the words itself are “nothing terrible” (3), the physicality of the black veil has more of a direct effect on the parishioners. In the description of the reaction to Mr. Hooper’s sermon, the word “awe” (3) has a double meaning, both in the sense of fear and reverence. Even as the parishioners are frightened of Mr. Hooper’s black veil, they still feel a form of respect for his radical actions.
Another reason Mr. Hooper is an admirable character through the story is due to his undying devotion towards his religious beliefs. As a minister, Mr. Hooper is obligated to feel passionate about religion, but he ascends this passion, by keeping the black veil over his head through his entire life. The fact that he is willing to risk any friendliness and adoration from the townspeople shows how strong his devotion is. Mr. Hooper believes that everyone wears a black veil identical to his. While it cannot be physically seen on everyone, it is shown through their human imperfection. Wearing the black veil is Mr. Hooper’s way of manifesting mortal sin; everyone wears a veil that hinders them from knowing true love, in this case God’s love. Only in death he believes the veil can be lifted and this love felt. It is his way of preparing everyone for death, and in that death, eternal life. Not many people have this much devotion to religion, even other ministers. This calling Mr. Hooper feels so greatly to spread his ideas of mortality and his steadfast faith exemplifies how respectable he is.
In Mr. Hooper’s quest to expose the black veil on everyone, the community distances themselves from him in fear of this new minister and the mystery the veil conceals. The people in the town are not the only ones afraid of the black veil; Mr. Hooper himself avoids glimpsing at the veil so he is not “affrighted by himself” (8). Unlike those surrounding him, Mr. Hooper cannot run away from the veil. Despite his own fears of the veil, Mr. Hooper continues to carry it on his face, and this determination amplifies how respectable his character is.
The section of the story where Mr. Hooper’s true devotion is displayed is the end, when he lies in his death bed. Reverend Clark asks Mr. Hooper to take off the veil since he is about to die, but the persistent minister refuses. Mr. Hooper then channels his remaining energy into a speech addressing those around him. In this speech, the minister accuses everyone of hypocrisy, saying they only “tremble” at him because of “the mystery” the veil “obscurely typifies” (11). He goes on to say “I look around me, and lo! on every visage a Black Veil!” (11). Here Mr. Hooper candidly states how the veil is a personification of mortal sin. Even though it cannot be physically seen on a person, the veil still hangs over his or her face. Even at the end of his life, Mr. Hooper defends his beliefs, using what little strength is within him.
Another form of strength Mr. Hooper shows throughout the story is his morality. His actions of continuing to do charity for his parish and have the same amiable personality as before shows an admirable fortitude in his moral standards. He does not begin to despise the townspeople for distancing themselves from him, nor does he hate them for running in fear. Instead he helps them. Mr. Hooper continues being friendly in performing his daily duties as a minister, but those he aids do not give him words of thanks. Instead he is regarded with “dread” and “shuddered at” (9). As the story progresses and Mr. Hooper ages, those surrounding him still fear the black veil, but they also develop a sort of fascination of him. “Kind and loving, though unloved, and dimly feared; a man apart from men, shunned in their health and joy, but ever summoned to their aid in mortal anguish” (9). He is treated as if he is no longer a man, yet in regards to sympathy, Mr. Hooper is more human than those he assisted.
A recurring image that conveys Mr. Hooper’s stoic moral standards is his smile. This image is ironic because the act of smiling is usually associated with happiness, but Mr. Hooper’s is described as “sad” (4,7,9,11) and “melancholy” (6). This can suggest how even though Mr. Hooper feels the pain and exclusion that the black veil produces, he has the strength of character to persevere by smiling. “But, even amid his grief, Mr. Hooper smiled” (8). Also, his smile is always described as “glimmering” (4,6,7). This word has a positive tone that suggests that there is still a light behind the black veil. Throughout the story, this “glimmering” smile is never prominent nor lasting, but during Mr. Hooper’s final moments on earth, the smile begins to “linger” (11) on his face. This reveals how prepared Mr. Hooper is to know that he will soon leave the mortal world and arrive in the presence of God.
In reference to all-knowing entities, the point of view of this story is told by the perspective of an outside voice not directly involved in the plot. This is shown through the fact that the narrator can hear the thoughts of all the characters and is present even when Mr. Hooper is present and absent from the scene. This point of view has a great impact in uncovering Mr. Hooper’s character by contrasting his thoughts to the thoughts of those around him. An all-knowing narrator fits in properly with this story, especially since it revolves around religion. Having a narrator that is knowledgeable of all thoughts and reactions to the events in the story implies that God is always watching. This reinforces the theme that the veil is a representation of mortal sin, and that no one can hide from “the Omniscient” (3). Throughout the story Mr. Hooper tries to convey the idea that every human wears a black veil, and there is no way to hide it from this powerful entity.
Finally, the only reason Mr. Hooper can be regarded as misguided is in the manner in which he attempts to convey his beliefs to his townspeople. Creating shock in the natural order of life in the town to reveal paramount ideas of mortal sin would be an extremely effective concept, especially in gathering the attention of the townspeople. In this instance however, Mr. Hooper seems to have unconsciously created too much shock. It was not distinctly predictable that the townspeople would become so frightened of Mr. Hooper as to have “screamed and fled” (11) from him. In this respect, the town is too distracted by his actions to hear what he has to say. This begins at the start of the story, when Mr. Hooper is first seen wearing the veil. Even though Mr. Hooper acts as if everything is normal, everyone else is too “wonder-struck” (2) by the black veil to respond to his greetings.
In retrospect, Mr. Hooper’s character constantly remains honorable throughout “The Minister’s Black Veil.” This is shown through his undying beliefs and moral values, his reasoning for putting on the black veil, and through the omniscient narrator of this tale. The black veil is a manifestation of human imperfection, lies, and sin. To Mr. Hooper, everyone wears their own veil and only after mortal life will it disappear. Mr. Hooper valiantly conveys this message even though the action of wearing the veil afflicts fear upon himself. How the minister remains true to his beliefs unveils his character to show truly how admirable he is.
The Minister’s Black Veil: a Tale About Mr. Hooper
“The Minister’s Black Veil” by Nathaniel Hawthorne tells the story of a reverend called Mr. Hooper who wears a black veil over his which “concealed his features, except for the mouth and chin (1312). Mr. Hooper was known to be a “good preacher” but was always a gloomy man (1313). The townspeople’s reactions to the veil were very negative and superstitious. It was the talk of the town, they “gathered in little circles […] whispering in the center,” gossiping, trying to figure out why Mr. Hooper is wearing the Veil (1313). The veil seems to make everyone uncomfortable that even one of Mr. Hooper’s friends “neglected to invite Mr. Hooper to his table where the good clergyman had been wont to bless the food, almost every Sunday since his settlement” (1313). The townspeople sparked up ideas as to why Mr. Hooper is wearing the veil, some saying that “there is no mystery at all, but only that Mr. Hooper’s eyes were so weakened by the midnight lamp, as to require a shade” (1313). During a funeral for “a young lady,” speculations arise on the relationship between Mr. Hooper and the lady (1314). Some people even going far enough to say that they saw “’that the minister and the maiden’s spirit were walking hand in hand’” (1314). Another lady claims that, “’she would not be alone with him for the world’” because she believes that the veil “makes him ghost-like from head to foot” (1314). Despite it being the talk of the town, “not one venture(s) to put the plain question to Mr. Hooper,” and instead they gossip and create rumors about the veil and the reverend’s reasons for wearing it (1315). Even his “wife,” leaves him because he refused to reveal the veil (1316). I don’t think that any of these are true, however, they do reveal a certain quality that the townspeople share, and because it shows that they are very curious people but not really in a good way. I think that they react extremely negatively on the veil and they focus onto to why he wears it, not because of the symbol it could represent, but because it makes them uncomfortable.
Towards the end of the story, “no attempts [are] made to remove Mr. Hooper’s black veil” after Elizabeth, his wife, fails to reveal the reasons why Mr. Hooper decided to wear it (1317). For the rest of Mr. Hooper’s life, no one ever finds out what his reasons are for wearing the veil, and in result the reverend is left isolated in some way from his peers. At his deathbed, “Reverend Mr. Clark” requests for the “lifting of the veil,” because he believes that “a father in the church should [not] leave a shadow on his memory that may seem to blacken a life so pure” (1319). He does not want Good Father Hooper to be remembered for his veil, but he wants him to be remembered for his work as a reverend. But of course, Mr. Hooper declines. With his last words, Mr. Hooper reveals his reasons as to why he wore the black veil for so long. He claims that, “’ men have avoided [him], and women shown no pity, and children screamed and fled,” because the veil made them feel uncomfortable (1320). He continues on by saying that “when the friend shows his inmost heart to his friend’” they open up to them, but not God, which aggravates Hooper (1320). Then the good father Hooper lastly says that “’[he] look[s] around [himself], and lo! on every visage a black veil,’” meaning that everyone who judged him and gossiped about the veil is a hypocrite because they themselves wear a black veil, metaphorically speaking (1320). When the townspeople made assumptions, I notice that most of them create so much drama and because of that they seem more interesting, adding more to the story when in reality, it’s the complete opposite. For example, during the funeral, two townspeople claim that they saw “’that the minister and the maiden’s spirit were walking hand in hand’” (1314). This was probably not true, but it adds drama to the story and it kind of makes it a bigger deal than it really was. The assumptions that the people made and gossiped about support Mr. Hooper’s reason for why he wore the veil in the first place. The effect that the veil had on Hooper and the villagers were very negative. When the reverend Mr. Hooper, first makes an appearance revealing the black veil, the crowd was filled with gasps and they were so “wonder-struck […] that his greeting[s] hardly [meet] with a return (1312). A man also claims that the black veil “throws an influence over his whole person, and makes him ghost-like from head to foot” (1314). This effect also spread to the people around him as well because Mr. Hooper’s presence seemed to add a “deeper gloom to the funeral, and could portend nothing but evil to the wedding” (1315). Because of this effect, it urged the villagers to gossip about it behind the reverend’s back. In the end I think the veil served a real purpose and it really proves a point to the townspeople. Their first instinct was to gossip about it, and create stores that add drama to the story rather than actually taking a step back digging into the actual meaning. This relates to the overall purpose which is to show that everyone themselves wear a black veil, because they hide their sins. I think that the villagers realized this at he end when they “shrank from one another, in mutual affright” and they allowed him to be buried in his coffin, “still veiled” (1320).
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.