The Minister's Black Veil - in class notes

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The Minister's Black Veil - in class notes

  1. 1. The Minister’s Black Veil Nathaniel Hawthorne
  2. 2. The Minister’s Black Veil• Mr. Hooper’s sermon• tinged with darkness• Parishioners felt guilt – the preacher had “crept” upon them• They can’t breath• As if he discovered their sins• Voice is melancholy – they tremble• Air of pathos
  3. 3. The people change their behavior towards Mr. Hooper• Ignore him• Won’t walk beside him• The squire doesn’t invite him to bless his meal• Don’t know why the veil affects them in this way• Think he has lost his mind
  4. 4. The Effect of the Veil• The veil hides our true selves• If you are alive you are wearing a veil• The veil is a symbol of our sin/guilt• The darkest – sinful part of ourselves that only we know• God knows this dark sinful part of our being• Represents the Puritan belief that we are all sinful• Mr. Hooper was the only one brave enough to admit to this
  5. 5. Mr. Hooper Transformed• Seems to be walking hand in hand with death• He allows the dead girl to see his face• The dead girl seems to acknowledge him by trembling• Mr. Hooper absorbs the fear of the people• He turns pale – spills the wine (at the wedding)• He is death, sin• Runs into the dark night
  6. 6. People believed• Mr. Hooper has lost his mind• People believe he has “secret” sin• Walks hand and hand with the dead• He has become a symbol of evil• Their judgment isolates him• Even Elizabeth can’t accept the veil
  7. 7. The Effective Pastor• Mr. Hooper becomes an effective pastor• By wearing the veil – he admits that he is a sinner• He is carrying the sins of his congregation – Christ-like• Sinners can relate to him – no judgment• They fear him – sins are reflected onto him• Speaking to him is like confession – purifying their sins
  8. 8. Mr. Hooper speaks to the Church Leaders• As he is dying he tells them “You are all wearing veils”• They too (the church leaders) carry sin• He isn’t a monster because they also carry a secret• When we are all open with each and stop judging each other then the veil will no longer be necessary – he no longer will be a monster
  9. 9. What is the message of this parable?• In the speech Mr. Hooper gives the church leaders lies the message• Hawthorne is reaching across generations to speak to his ancestors who burned the women who were accused of witchcraft at the stake• He is also speaking to the church• We are all sinners but those who judge others for their sins and bring sorrow, isolation and even death are truly sinful and evil – real monsters
  10. 10. The Veil as a Symbol of Sin• “There may be whispers that you hide your face under consciousness of secret sin”• “…when a man does not vainly shrink from the eye of his Creator, loathsomely treasuring up the secret of his sin; then deem me a monster…”
  11. 11. The Veil as a Symbol of Sorrow/ Mourning• “’If it be a sign of mourning’, Mr. Hooper replied, ‘I perhaps like most other mortals have sorrows dark enough to be typified by a black veil.’”
  12. 12. The Veil as a Symbol of Isolation• “Men have avoided me and women shown no pity and children screamed and fled, only for my black veil”
  13. 13. The Veil as a Symbol of Mystery• “The minister and the maiden’s spirit walked hand in hand.”• “…the corpse had slightly shuddered…”

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