Comparing and Contrasting the Protagonists in Flannery O’Connor’s Good Country People and Hawthorne's The Minister’s Black Veil

1772 Words4 Pages

In the Flannery O’Connor’s “Good Country People,” Joy/Hulga Hopewell is the main protagonist. In “The Minister’s Black Veil,” written by Nathaniel Hawthorne the protagonist is Minister Hooper. Both of the main characters represent different views on religion, humanity, and humility. Hulga does not really believe in anything. Her main focus is trying to be smarter than others to compensate for her medical problems. Minister Hooper is a very good man, believes solely in Christ, and throughout the story we come to see how his views on religion reflect his humanity and humility.

In “The Minister’s Black Veil,” Minister Hooper dons a black veil that causes an eruption of gossip in his community . The townspeople do not have any clue as to why he is wearing this black veil and see it as scary and devilish. The people in the community believe that Minister Hooper is wearing the veil to cover up a horrible sin. This may not be the case however, because he may be wearing it as a symbol of his faith. As Judy McCarthy voices that Moses and the minister have a relation by in this quote “Moses in the bible wore a black veil to conceal his shining face after meeting and talking with Christ.” Judy McCarthy also stated that “the veil that hangs over the heart cannot be lifted other than by God’s gracious hand,” meaning that Hooper relates his real veil as a very powerful and spiritual object. Hooper wears this veil as an expression of faith and will not remove it until he departs from this world. This behavior in itself reflects how much Hooper’s relationship with religion means to him. As John Timmerman states, “[Hooper] is a person who has abrogated earthly relationships for his heavenly meaning …This may be clearly seen by Hooper’s refusa...

... middle of paper ...

... to nothingness so she feels the name fits her. The changing of her name also represents Hulga’s false beliefs and prideful nature. Hulga’s pride in her name and her leg backfires when not only her leg is stripped away but her superior attitude from her education is also dismembered.

Undoubtedly, both protagonists had completely opposing views on life. Whereas Hooper was a religious man, Hulga was an atheist. Hooper was a man who showed true humility when he was saving his congregation form damnation because of their sins, but Hulga showed humility by being too prideful in her intellectual self. Hooper wore his veil till death to show that everyone can be found in the shadow of their own sins. Much like Hooper held tight to his veil, Hulga held tightly and firmly believed in her leg. Both the veil and the leg symbolized humility, humanity, and religious views.

Open Document