An Overview of the Minister's Black Veil

The veil, no more than a black scrap of cloth. represented a barrier that the minister decided to erect between himself and the rest of the World. This led to a profound change in the public 5 perceptions of him. However, more important than what the veil represents are the reasons behind Minister Hooper s decision to undertake an action that would completely sever him from the community where he lived and loved. One possibility is that he came to an understanding of human nature so disturbing that he felt the need to either physically manifest this characteristic or separate himself from the world for the better of all.

Another reason could be that he was undergoing a personal crisis and decided to test the bounds of the most sacred human emotion, love. Whatever the reason Minister Hooper has pushed further and further away as he could not go back and the people could not accept this change.

At the beginning of the story the minister seems to believe that no man or woman was completely honest With their God, their friends, their family or themselves.

They always kept a certain pan of themselves hidden. secreted away where they thought no one could find it. This seems to have been a defense mechanism and only by hiding these thoughts, desires and beliefs could people feel at peace With the world and With themselves Mr. Hooper s veil was a physical manifestation of this characteristic and served as an interesting insight into human nature.

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People felt as if the preacher had crept upon them behind his awful veil and discovered their hoarded inequity of deed or thought. His veil, openly revealing the fact that he was hiding something made others feel he not only knew they had something to hide but could fathom their secrets as well.

The fear of what lay behind the veil though was not confined to the world outside of it, The minister was not able to abide by the sight. In the beginning, Mr. Hooper appeared not to notice the disturbance he caused his people but perhaps the sight of the palerfaced congregation was as fearful to the sight of the minister as the black veil was to them. From then on he never willingly passed a mirror or drank from a fountain in case he saw the Image and frightened himself. He too was terrified by the ghostly image that confronted him. but was determined to keep himself in the saddest of all prisons, his own heart, in an effort to protect the world and himself from each other. The test, which the minister gave to the people of his parish, was one that they could not understand. The first response was one of surprise and confusion, but what has Parson Hooper got on his face? cried a sexton.

The misunderstanding was followed by fear, I would not be alone With him for the world. i wonder he is not afraid to be alone with himself”. The fear quickly became akin to hate as people started to avoid the minister, At first it was small things. People began to spread rumors about Reverend Hooper and his state of mind. I can t really feel as if good Mister Hoopers face was behind that piece of crepe said on parishioner and He has changed himself into something awful, only by hiding his face. said another. Still another surmised that Our parson has gone mad. Then came the time when people forgot to invrte him for dinner Where before he had been aweekly fixture at their table. The pastor himself did not change in thought, Word. or deed after he placed the veil over his own face, other people did. He was still the good preacher he had always been, kind and lovmg though unloved and feared, Winning people heavenward by mild, persuasive influences.

However, the veil presented something people could not look past and ultimately not accept. All the Mr, Hooper does is to put a black veil over his face. This single action gave his congregation a new perception of him. The minister truly never did anything to desen/e his punishment of solitary confinement in his own parish. If I hide my face for sorrow there is cause enough and if I use it to cover secret sin, what mortal might not do the same? Whatever his reason, showing that all people had their secrets or a test of his people’s love for him, no person understood what the minister was trying to say or prove, and few tried. What does this say about human nature and mankind? That love is temporary and only given when convenient, as love is hardly ever unconditional and probably never Will be.

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An Overview of the Minister's Black Veil. (2023, Apr 20). Retrieved from

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