The Minister’s Black Veil
In “The Minister’s Black Veil”, a short story written by Nathanial Hawthorne, the subject of secret sin is brought to light through a small puritan community and their minister. In the story the minister of the community, who is spoken of by the community as a good preacher, begins to wear a black veil on his face until his death. From this point on a profound change occurs in the attitude of the community. Mr. Hooper’s wears the black veil in order to expose secret sin within all individuals in his community and clearly his goal for the veil comes to fruition. The way the community’s joyful, happy, and religious attitude transitions to a judgmental, superstitious, and gloomy attitude shows that the black veil is causing the people to step back and examine their thoughts and actions.
From the beginning of the story to the end there is a total shift in thinking, from positive to negative. Minister Hooper gives a sermon concerning the subject of secret sin and those who forget, “that the Omniscient can detect them” (29). Although Mr. Hooper does not directly accuse the community of committing sin, all who were sitting in the church and heard the sermon felt as if Mr. Hooper was indirectly talking about them. Hawthorne writes “A subtle power was breathed into his words. Each member of the congregation, the most innocent girl, and the man hardened of breast, felt as if the preacher had crept upon them, behind his awful veil, and discovered their hoarded iniquity of deed or thought” (29). This sermon begins dramatic change of tone in the story and in the community. Furthermore, Hawthorne no longer mentions the beauty of the sun or the weather in general for that matter. This lack of detail regarding nature also adds to the shift of light to dark. The community is also never again spoken of as being as close, joyful and... [continues]
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