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Critical Analysis of "the Minister's Black Veil"

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Essay title: Critical Analysis of "the Minister's Black Veil"

Critical Analysis of "The Minister's Black Veil"

The small, early American town that the story "The Minister's Black Veil" takes place in is a quite provincial town. Its inhabitants are normal people who, when confronted with a foreign entity, respond with ignorance. Nathaniel Hawthorne uses symbolism and a black veil to convey his message of the incorrectness of early American actions towards things of a foreign nature. The black veil symbolized the all too familiar urge to hide one's private life, the necessity for people to look past other's surfaces, and the hypocrisy of a society's customs.

The private sector of a person's life is something that not many people are allowed to enter. When Parson Hooper begins to wear the black veil, he puts up another form of protection to keep people further away from his private life, something that people already wonder about. The veil symbolizes the barricade that everyone uses to hide his or her personal life, the things that happen behind closed doors. When one of Hooper's parishioner's queries, "I wonder he is not afraid to be alone with himself" (189), she exhibits the kind of wonderment that the people of this small provincial town have regarding the private lives of others. The village physician even takes his part in the town-wide suspicion of what is behind Mr. Hooper's mysterious black veil, when he observes that, "[s]omething must be amiss with Mr. Hooper's intellects" (189).


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