Lisa C. Burns
April 07, 2013
The Minister's Black Veil
“But what has good Parson Hooper got upon his face?” (pg.1). This the first peak we get of the black veil that obscures the minister's face; through the sexton, in Nathaniel Hawthorne's “The Minister's Black Veil”. We can also determine what kind of man the minister was by his own actions, his words, and what others say of him. Hawthorne tells the story of good Parson Hooper, a minister who one day decides to cover his face with a black veil for unknown reasons. No one seems to understand why good Parson Hooper, a beloved gentleman, kind hearted and respected hides his face from the world. The story begins on Sunday morning, and good Parson Hooper is making his way to the church to delivery his sermon to his congregation. However, this day is different from any other. Good Parson Hooper arrives at the church wearing a black veil that covers all his face except his mouth and chin. This not only starts a stir amongst the parishioners about the abstracted minister, but also the townspeople of Milford. As the day progresses these people begin to wonder about this veil; and wonder what's going on with good Minister Hooper. Minister Hooper, whose known to have “a reputation of a good preacher” (pg.3), has now become ostracized by the same people who love and respect him. Nevertheless, good Minister Hooper goes on with his day. He attends a funeral, and marries a couple still wearing this black veil. However, his character remains the same; pleasant and cheerful. He is questioned by his wife to be Elizabeth about the veil; and though “it grieved him to the very depth of his kind heart” (pg.7), he would not remove it. Though Father Hooper dies “a man so given to prayer, of such blameless example, holy in deed and thought, so far as mortal judgment may pronounce” (pg.9). He dies with the black veil still upon his face. No one understands why.
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