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.
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