Minister's Black Veil Essays: Masks and Intimacy

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The Minister's Black Veil - Masks and Intimacy

The Minister's Black Veil begins with a young pastor, Mr. Hooper, arriving at church with an ugly black veil covering his face. The people are all dismayed, and wonder why he is wearing a black veil. They are further dismayed and confused, when he refuses to take it off--ever. There is only one person who is not horrified by his black veil--his wife-to-be, Elizabeth. She comes to him and says, "there is nothing terrible in this piece of crape, except that it hides a face which I am always glad to look upon. Come, good sir, let the sun shine from behind the cloud. First lay aside your black veil: then tell me why you put it on." (Heath 2143) Mr. Hooper smiles and replies, "There is an hour to come when all of us shall cast aside our veils. Take it not amiss, beloved friend, if I wear this piece of crape till then." (Heath 2143)

Elizabeth, again, entreats him to remove the veil, but he replies, "this veil is a type and a symbol, and I am bound to wear it ever, both in light and darkness, in solitude and before the gaze of multitudes, and as with strangers, so with my familiar friends. No mortal eye will see it withdrawn. This dismal shade must separate me from the world: even you, Elizabeth, can never come behind it!" Elizabeth asks him what shall the people think of his veil? Won't it start a scandal? Mr. Hooper then replies, "If I hide my face for sorrow, there is cause enough, and if I cover it for secret sin, what mortal might not do the same?" (Heath 2143)

Elizabeth begins to feel terror at the sight of the veil. She turns to leave the room, and Mr. Hooper cries, "Have patience with me, Elizabeth! Do not desert me, though this veil must be between us here on e...

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... understanding, and healing. Mr. Hooper's veil ostracized him from the mercy, understanding and love, from his congregation.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Kaul, A. N., (Ed.). (1966). "HAWTHORNE: A Collection of Critical Essays." Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

Levin, Harry., (Ed.). (1961) "The Scarlet Letter and Other Tales of the Puritans." Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Morris, Lloyd., "THE REBELLIOUS PURITAN: Portrait of Mr. Hawthorne." Port Washington: Kennikat Press.

"The Heath Anthology of American Literature" (2nd ed.). Lexington: D.C. Heath and Company.

Van Doren, Mark., (Ed.). (1951). "The Best of Hawthorne." New York: The Ronald Press Company.

Waggoner, Hyatt H., "HAWTHORNE: A Critical Study." Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

"World History and Cultures: In Christian Perspective." Pensacola: A Beka Book.

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