Employed Symbolism in The Minister’s Black Veil
The Minister’s Black Veil by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a short story about a Reverend who begins to wear a mysterious black veil, causing much confusion, chatter and fear amongst the congregation of his church and the townspeople. The components and elements of Hawthorne’s story are both developed and altered by his powerful saturation of symbolism.
Parson Hooper, the Reverend in The Minister’s Black Veil, is the cause of the internal and external conflicts that arose in this story. Complications in the town, as well as disputes with his relationship, derived instantly after his enrobing of the black veil. For example, the single veil that lay upon the Reverend’s face, disrupted the whole town, “At the close of the services the people hurried out with indecorous confusion, eager to communicate their pent-up amazement, and conscious of lighter spirits the moment they lost sight of the black veil” (Hawthorne,1042). As Hooper dealt with the backlash of the town and his fiancé, Elizabeth, leaving him, Hawthorne also used symbolism to show the conflicts Hooper was dealing with internally. Hooper revealed to Elizabeth, “I perhaps, like other mortals, have sorrows enough to be typified by a black veil” (Hawthorne, 1045). Which led me to infer that Hooper is dealing with the sin of adultery, being the first day the veil was worn, was at the funeral of a lady who passed away, as well as the reasoning behind the veil being kept from his finance. “This dismal shade must separate me from the world; even you, Elizabeth, can never come behind it” (Hawthorne 1045). Displaying Hooper’s reasoning behind wearing the veil, it also introduces us to the overall, deeper message of what the veil truly symbolizes.
Being that this is a short story, we know that a characteristic of such must include a theme, or an underlying message that enables the readers to conclude the main idea. Assisted by symbolism, Hawthorne is able to continuously communicate the theme of The Minister’s Black Veil, sin. Parson Hooper wears the veil, revealing the sorrow living within him and the sins for which he has sinned, without care of what will be said or who will become aware of it. But who is to be deemed the monster, the one who owns up to their faults or the ones whom hide behind lies and laughter?
What but the mystery which it obscurely typifies has made this piece of crape so awful? When the friend shows his inmost heart...