The Minister's Black Veil vs Scarlet Letter

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The Minister’s Black Veil

The central theme of “The Minister’s Black Veil” revolves around the notion that everyone has secret sins of some sort that they covertly hide from other people’s view and how one’s soul will eventually be destroyed if these sins are not confessed. Reverend Hooper realizes this and says, as he lies dying, “I look around me, and, lo! on every visage a Black Veil!” Another theme that is presented is that of religion and the Puritan faith. Both Reverend Hooper and Reverend Dimmesdale, in the Scarlet Letter, supposedly are deeply rooted in their faith, yet Rev. Dimmesdale gives in to his human desires and has an affair with Hester, and Rev. Hooper’s sins are hinted at when, at the funeral of the young woman, one of the mourners says, “I had a fancy, replied she, “that the minister and the maiden’s spirit were walking hand in hand”. Both Dimmesdale and Hooper are so intent on concealing their sins that it ends up consuming their lives and they struggle through a lonely isolating existence. Both stories share the same type of symbolism with Hester, in the Scarlet Letter wearing a large “A” and in “The Minister’s Black Veil”, Reverend Hooper wears a black veil that covers his eyes and nose down to his mouth. The veil and letter “A” symbolize sin and since the townspeople do not approve of this and are afraid, they shun both Hester and Hooper. As Hooper says to Elizabeth, his fiancée, “There is an hour to come”, said he, “when all of us shall cast aside our veils”. Rev. Hooper refuses to take off the veil, even on his deathbed, because he can’t - only God can do that when the time is right and decides whether to forgive his sins or not. Likewise, Hester refuses to take off her letter until the time is right for her and she will be forgiven.