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“The Minister’s Black Veil”. Nathaniel Hawthorne. Historical Notes. Minister Hooper was modeled after a Mr. Joseph Moody from York, Maine. According to Hawthorne, Moody “made himself remarkable by the same eccentricity that is here related of the Reverend Mr. Hooper.

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historical notes
Historical Notes
  • Minister Hooper was modeled after a Mr. Joseph Moody from York, Maine.
    • According to Hawthorne, Moody “made himself remarkable by the same eccentricity that is here related of the Reverend Mr. Hooper.
    • In his youth, Moody had killed “a beloved friend; and from that day till the hour of his own death, hid his face from men.”
  • Hawthorne understood well the “gloom and piety” of the early Puritans.
    • One of his ancestors had persecuted Quakers.
    • Another was one of the judges who condemned the Salem “witches.” (Judge Hathorne)
      • Hawthorne subsequently added the “w” to his name.
effects of the veil
Effects of the Veil
  • The congregation’s initial reactions to the veil are those of awe, dismay, fear, gloom, and curiosity.
  • Elizabeth expresses a concern for the veil’s effect on Mr. Hooper’s reputation and breaks their engagement.
    • Therefore, the veil generally results in Hooper being sad and lonely for the remainder of his life.
  • The veil creates a feeling of horror in Hooper when he sees his reflection.
what does the veil symbolize to mr hooper
What does the veil symbolize to Mr. Hooper?
  • Secret Sin
    • Preaches on this subject the first day he wears the veil
    • Color black is sometimes associated with sin and evil
    • Veils are used to hide things, so a veil is a good symbol for something hidden
    • On death bed, refers to hiding sins from family, friends, lovers, and God.
  • Isolation from Others
    • Has the effect of isolating him
    • Begs Elizabeth not to leave him in that isolation forever
    • No one can penetrate it
    • On death bed, refers to lack of closeness among even friends and lovers
what does the veil symbolize to mr hooper cont
What does the veil symbolize to Mr. Hooper? (cont)
  • Sinfulness (or evil) of any kind
    • Color black is sometimes associated with sin and evil
    • Sinfulness is inevitable
    • Says he will wear veil forever; he, like all people, will never be without sin
  • Mortality; Death
    • Says a day will come when all will cast aside veils, referring to dying
    • On death bed, refers to the veil that is lifted when one dies
    • Veil remains on his body and decays with him
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