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The Essence Of Symbolism In "The Minister's Black Veil"

1324 words - 5 pages

The short story, "The Minister's Black Veil" is by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne is known for using strong symbolism in his stories. The symbolism in this story is from a black veil that Reverend Hooper wears to a service one Sunday morning and then continues wearing it for the rest of his life. There are many theories as to why Reverend Hooper wears this veil over his face. This veil changes the life of Reverend Hooper and literally all of the town of Milford. Reverend Hooper's mysterious behavior and unclear defense of the veil he wears projects a strong sense of symbolism portrayed through the impact of the veil on his fiancée, Elizabeth, the community, and ultimately his own life (Martin 72-73). Rev. Hooper was the minister of a town called Milford. he had always been respected and befriended by his congregation. He had never been a very outgoing or audacious man, but an effective minister just the same. One day Hooper appears on Sunday morning with a black veil covering his face. This veil changes everything in his own life. When Hooper first began having the veil adorn him, no one wanted to ask him why he wore it. Later though, the community grew very suspicious and even frightened by of it. The veil covered Hooper's face and gave a darkened outlook to all things seen through his eyes. The veil separated Reverend Hooper from the world. It isolated him from the sin that the world emitted (Donahue 118-121). Although Hooper was a very melancholy man he smiled often. There is question as to why he did. When Elizabeth left him, he smiled. Even in death, he smiled. It can be inferred that he smiled about his veil because he knew the concept of the veil was at once simpler and far more complex than they could imagine (Donahue 121-123). When informed that the veil has cast suspicions of a "secret sin" in his life, Hooper retorts, " When the friend shows his inmost heart to his friend, the lover to his beloved, when man doesn't vainly shrink from his creator, then deem me a monster for the symbol for which I live and die!" He says, "I look around me and 'lo on every visage I see a black veil!" (Martin 72-73). The people of the community were anxious to know why this perturbed veil was worn over their minister's face, yet no one seemed as if it was their position to inquire. There was only one person who seemed to have the connection with Hooper to be able to ask him of his veil. That was Elizabeth. She was Reverend Hooper's fiancée. She thought for sure she could get the answer the entire town wanted so desperately to unravel (Wagoner, 225). One day Elizabeth gathered the courage to brave the mysterious subject. She casually asked Hooper to remove his veil for her one afternoon. Hooper replied back to her in the same calm manner that every human wears a veil. His was merely more noticeable than others. Elizabeth said that she missed seeing the face that she once fell in love with. Hooper explains...

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