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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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“The Minister’s Black Veil”

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The minister s black veil

“The Minister’s Black Veil”

Nathaniel Hawthorne


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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