What Does The Veil Symbolize In The Minister's Black Veil

Superior Essays
The Ministers Black Veil is one of Hawthorne’s earlier works, but it is by far one of the most popular short stories he wrote. Parson Hooper is a young minster that begins to wear a black veil at all times. The sudden appearance of the black veil leads to a sense of confusion that spreads throughout the Puritan community. Hawthorne uses the black veil to symbolize the many forms of sin that people have. The Minister, Parson Hooper, wears the veil form the time the story begins to his death at the end, hoping that his congregation comes to realize why he is wearing it, though they never truly do come to those realizations. In the Minister’s Black Veil, Hawthorne uses the black veil to symbolize the way Parson Hooper looks at himself and how …show more content…
The community was scared to ask the minister what the veil represented. The veil separated him from the community. They feel like it makes the minister almost ghost like, and no longer relatable to the rest of the community. In a critical companion to a series of Hawthorne’s works Wrights describes Hooper’s veil to the community by stating that “The veil isolates him from humanity and is an emblem of his martyrdom to spiritual truth. His emotional life has been curtailed and he has cut himself off from others on the basis of an abstract religious conviction” (Martin 74-75 qtd in Wright 167). The veil blocks off all the emotional connections that the people are looking for in the minister. There were those who saw the veil as a positive addition within the community, with how Parson Hooper wanted to convey the veil as a symbol of the sin that each man held in their hearts in order to encourage them to confess. Hooper, in the end, did not manage to confess his own sin. Hooper was still disconnected from the rest of the community because of the fact that he would not confess the sin that he had committed. The community did not view Hooper in the same way ever …show more content…
In the “The Minister’s Black Veil” the story is revolves around sin and all the effects it has on others. Men have a sinful nature. There is correlation between veil and evil that, although present, may not be totally intended by Hawthorne when he first it brings up an interesting connection (Freedman 136). The veil indulges the entire life of Hooper as sin can indulge the life of man either trying to hide it or get out of it. The sin that Hooper committed took over his entire life and he used the veil to cope with it so others would focus on that instead of his sin. Literature critic William Stein writes about Hooper’s sinful nature stating, “His heart, his imagination, the inherited ben of his Puritan ancestry- all his instincts, in short- bind him in sympathy with possessed minister, brooding over the vague and bottomless abyss of Evil” (Stein 88). Stein is exemplifying the sinful nature that Hooper has in his life. He writes about the how the true qualities of Hooper, and man in general, start in the heart and the mind of the person, and those qualities are of sin and

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    That may be the reason he can never bring himself to take off the veil. He doesn’t fully accept the grace extended to him because he felt that he was not deserving of it. One can question how Parson Hooper is able to help those in his congregation accept their own grace, if he isn’t able to do so himself. Parson Hooper is traditionally praised for his courageous representation of secret sin and an outward symbol of the imperfections of sinners in comparison with God. However, it is evident that Parson Hooper was still ashamed and fearful of the retribution he might face if he ever admitted to whatever sin he had…

    • 1044 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    While the minister showed his guilt it made him isolated from society. The reason he was isolated was because of his openness with his guilt which gave him a sense of evil. Because the minister can not forgive himself and he rejects the forgiveness from others and isolates himself even more. This guilt that he has prevents him, from feeling forgiven and isolates him as punishment for his sin (“Isolation and Community”). His isolation then increases because no one wants to be around his ominus sense of guilt that goes with his veil leading to many people leaving him (Leary 75).…

    • 1261 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The minister had been shut out from society, therefore became too close to his own and others’ sins. Hawthorne relates Mr. Hooper to agonizing souls, creating an image of anguish that follows the minister around wherever he goes. The minister believes that it was right to focus on one’s own sins and atone for them while the rest of society avoids their own sins. The beliefs of the people contrast with those of Mr. Hooper which is the reason that the minister is constantly judged for showing his own guilt while the rest of the town judges him, not focusing on their own sins. Separation from society is caused by rumors and judgement based on different beliefs as shown by Mr. Hooper’s struggle with the rest of the town to combat rumors about his veil.…

    • 1139 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Dimmesdale, for example, has an ironic turn of events when he reveals to the town he is the father of Pearl. After his death, many of the spectators believed his speech and the lashings on his chest “[had] the slightest connection… with the guilt for which Hester Prynne has so long worn the scarlet letter”( 231). His speech was to show that even he, the holiest of all, can commit sins much like Hester, and they should not base their decisions on a single action. The message flew over their heads, and they believed he fabricated the story in order to teach them a lesson, and they still holding their good view of their now deceased minister. Earlier in the novel, Chillingworth is introduced as he puts on his detective hat and begins to try to solve the case of the mystery man who is Pearl’s father.…

    • 943 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Scarlet Letter Morality

    • 826 Words
    • 4 Pages

    The moral consequences of sin always bestows itself upon the wrongdoer, whether he or she is a strong and independent individual or even a figure of God. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne and Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale must live in shame for the rest of their lives because of the adultery they committed with each other. Later in the story however, Hester progressively becomes accepting of her sin and it strengthens her sense of individuality while Dimmesdale hides it from society, leading him to both physically and psychologically torment himself. Hawthorne intentionally writes the plot in this context to compare and contrast the true impact sin takes on people. He wrote the story to convey the message that a sin’s…

    • 826 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    A person cannot stand in judgement of another when he too wears the black veil of sin. Mr. Hooper was judged harshly because he chose to publicly display his black veil while the other members of the congregation worked to hide their veils of sin. Mr. Hooper’s example teaches the members about sin and helps them remember their need for the grace of a merciful God. Through this story Nathaniel Hawthorne reminds readers that one must be less concerned about how their sins may appear to others and seek only redemption from…

    • 1098 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The Puritans believed every sin should be punishable. They also believed there were chosen ones who remained sinless their whole life. This Puritan belief is proved wrong throughout this story. Arthur Dimmesdale is a character you can relate to. He is suppose to be a man who cannot commit sin but he commits the sin that is focused on throughout the whole novel.…

    • 1287 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The puritan reverend and father of Hester’s child, Pearl, makes the decision to hide his sin from his community in order to prevent members of the church from losing faith. Unfortunately, this strategy does not go according to plan and forces himself to feel guilty for the majority of his adult life. Not revealing his crime “appears at first to be Dimmesdale 's luck escaping the fate that Hester suffers turns out to have caused him insufferable pain" (Swisher 61). Lying to his congregation corrupts Dimmesdale’s image of himself because he feels as if he is being hypocritical and not reflecting the actions of a Christian, let alone a minister. He becomes extremely physically and emotionally ill because of his inner demons.…

    • 1053 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Having two well-known ancestors who were both single handedly responsible for punishing those who had sinned, influenced his work a great deal. Nathaniel was able to give his readers a glimpse into how full of fear the people of Salem were. You could almost feel sympathy for those who were against his main characters in both of the stories, because they were more afraid of facing their own consequences. Hawthorne's story titled Young Goodman Brown was another piece of his work that continued the theme between good and evil. In the story, a man leaves his wife for one night and has an encounter with the devil, that further changes the way he had viewed his own life.…

    • 1571 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Voigt talks about the different meanings people have come about the veil. Some say it is a penance for an actual serious crime, or that the veil just represents the minister as someone who is so obsessed with sin that he allows it to control him which in the end results in a loss of life and happiness. Lastly, one of the meanings behind the veil is that which the article strongly suggests is the correct meaning is that the minister himself was a godly preacher who’s veil represented ancient Hebrew prophets practices. This article goes on to say that in the bible Jeremiah placed a yoke on his neck to represent his captivity as well as Judah’s sin. These ancient practices were done when sin was greatly upon someone as a way of repentance and would lead to isolation and loneliness as the veil did for father Hooper.…

    • 1172 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays