Young Goodman Brown and the Minister's Black Veil

Topics: Young Goodman Brown, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Allegory Pages: 3 (1041 words) Published: September 22, 2008
When taking a look at America’s short but significant history, we find that this nation was partly founded through religious ideals. Since its beginning, religion has helped to define the American Identity into what it is today. And this was explored throughout American literature especially in the Hawthorne’s The Minister’s Black Veil and Young Goodman Brown. Hawthorne’s The Minister’s Black Veil is a parable, suggests his purpose for writing. According to Webster’s dictionary, a parable is a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson. This is exactly what Hawthorne is trying to accomplish. The black veil that Pastor Hooper wears causes confusion and creates fear within his congregation, “But that piece of crape, to their imagination, seemed to hang down before his heart, the symbol of a fearful secret between him and them” (1315). Hawthorne’s purpose here is to use the black veil as a symbol of the sin that lies between every human and their relationships, whether it be with God or others. For example, Hawthorne writes, “The subject had reference to secret sin, and those sad mysteries which we hide from our nearest and dearest, and would fain conceal from our own consciousness, even forgetting that the Omniscient can detect them” (1313). This means that we all have our own sin, regardless of the extremity of it, and God knows about all of it because he can see everything that everyone has done wrong. People hide their sin from others, and hide behind a mask that is better than who they truly are. Hooper refuses to reveal his face until he leaves this world, knowing himself that his purpose is only to symbolize the wrongs of all humankind, “It is but a mortal veil – it is not for eternity!” (1317). Finally, on his death bed, Pastor Hooper reveals his purpose, “Why do you tremble at me alone? Tremble also at each other! I look around me, and, lo! on every visage a Black Veil!” (1320)....
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