The Minister's Black Veil by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Minister's Black Veil" embodies the hidden sins that we all hide and that in turn distance us from the ones we love most. Reverend Hooper dons a black veil throughout this story, and never takes it off. He has discerned in everyone a dark, hidden self of secret sin. In wearing the veil Hooper dramatizes the isolation that each person experiences when they are chained down by their own sinful deeds. He has realizes that symbolically everyone can be found in the shadow of their own dark veil. Hooper in wearing this shroud across his face is only amplifying the dark side of people and the truth of human existence and nature.
Hooper has come to the realization that secret sin is a veil that can never be lifted from anyone's life until the day of their death, and so he wears the dark cloth on for many years. "There is an hour to come, when all of us shall cast aside our veils. Take it not amiss, beloved friend, if I wear this piece of crepe till then." (559) In saying this, the minister expresses the feeling that while each human resides on this earth a veil brandishes his or her face. Hooper has taken a vow, and in doing so makes a life task of playing the part of the mirror to the people around him. He reflects the conscious and
well being of each person's individual soul. The veil cannot be lifted until the freedom of truth can be observed.
The veil upsets the minister's friends and neighbors deeply, and it becomes a wall between himself and his congregation. The first response is one of curiosity, which quickly turns to suspicion. Nobody can understand his motives for the donning of the black veil, and people become quite weary and uncomfortable around him. The veil and its color symbolize death, wrongdoing, and sin. The minister they had once sought for comfort and solace has become a seductive, mysterious stranger with whom nobody can identify. The congregation feels as though Hooper can reach into their souls and see all the inadequacy and sin hidden within. As expressed in the story, "Each member of the congregation, the most innocent girl, and...