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Damage Of Assumptions In Hawthorne's The Minister's Black Veil

573 words - 2 pages

The damage that can come from assumptions is far greater than most people today realize. “The Minister’s Black Veil” by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a short story which shows the sad truth of how society makes false assumptions about others. Throughout the story, the townspeople’s assumptions regarding Mr. Hooper causes themselves and Mr. Hooper much distress and sorrow.

During the last scene of the story, Mr. Hooper is laying in his death bed with the minister of Westbury, Elizabeth and a handful of others by his side. The minister of Westbury attempts to convince Mr. Hooper to take off his veil. Mr. Hooper refuses, shouting, “Never...On earth never!” (7). The minister exclaims, “With what horrible crime are you passing judgment”, which causes Mr. Hooper to let out how he is feeling about the village (7). He was disgusted that they were so concerned with his veil that they started to avoid him. From this death scene, the reader begins to notice all of the tragic consequences which were caused from the village’s assumptions about Mr. Hooper.

Mr. Hooper’s fiancée, Elizabeth, makes a dramatic, incriminating assumption about him. She assumes that just because he didn’t “lay aside [his] veil [and] tell [her] why [he] put it on”, he must have cheated on her (4). This results in her losing her love. Considering that Mr. Hooper was a “man given to prayer” and was filled with “holy deed and thought”, it seems quite unlikely that he, in fact, would have cheated on her (7). This means that Elizabeth lost her love for no reason, other than just a false assumption.

The rest of the village makes a large assumption as well, they assume that the reason Mr. Hooper...

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