It is the purpose of this essay to show that Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Minister’s Black Veil” is indeed an allegory. M. H. Abrams defines an allegory as a “narrative, whether in prose or verse, in which the agents and actions, and sometimes the setting as well, are contrived by the author to make coherent sense on the ‘literal,’ or primary, level of signification, and at the same time to signify a second, correlated order of signification” (5).
Yvor Winters in “Maule’s Curse, or Hawthorne and the Problem of Allegory” says that Hawthorne is essentially an allegorist (11). Stanley T. Williams in “Hawthorne’s Puritan Mind” states that the author was always “perfecting his delicate craft of the symbol, of allegory” (42). A.N. Kaul states : “In an effort to apprehend and adequately reflect the new complexity of man’s life, he [Hawthorne] molded the venerable – in his case directly inherited – allegorical method into the modern technique of symbolism” (3).
It is quite obvious that “The Minister’s Black Veil” has a secondary signification. There are so many references or allusions to spiritual-moral values in the tale that on the level of secondary signification the Reverend Hooper may be interpretable as the new Adam. R. W. B. Lewis in “The Return into Time: Hawthorne” states: Finally, it was Hawthorne who saw in American experience the re-creation of the story of Adam and who . . . exploited the active metaphor of the American as Adam – before and during and after the Fall” (72). As the new Adam, Reverend Hooper recognizes sin in his life just as did the first Adam; he, as a minister, seeks to help his congregation recognize sin in their own lives so...
... middle of paper ...
Kazin, Alfred. Introduction. Selected Short Stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne. New York: Fawcett Premier, 1966.
Kaul, A.N. “Introduction.” In Hawthorne – A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by A.N. Kaul. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966.
Lewis, R. W. B. “The Return into Time: Hawthorne.” In Hawthorne – A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by A.N. Kaul. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966.
Williams, Stanley T. “Hawthorne’s Puritan Mind.” In Readings on Nathaniel Hawthorne, edited by Clarice Swisher. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1996.
Winters, Yvor. “Maule’s Curse, or Hawthorne and the Problem of Allegory.” In Hawthorne – A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by A.N. Kaul. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- “The Minister’s Black Veil” and its Author Evaluated By Contemporaries Initially, of course, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short stories went unranked among those of other American and British writers. But his reputation, along with the popularity of his works, grew gradually even among contemporary critics, until he was recognized as a “man of genius.” Edgar Allen Poe, in a review of Hawthorne’s work, said in Godey's Lady's Book, November, 1847, no. 35, pp. 252-6: It was never the fashion (until lately) to speak of him in any summary of our best authors.... [tags: Ministers Black Veil Essays]
1148 words (3.3 pages)
- Ambiguity of “The Minister’s Black Veil” There is no end to the ambiguity in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Minister’s Black Veil”; this essay hopes to explore this problem within the tale. In New England Men of Letters Wilson Sullivan relates the purpose of Hawthorne’s veiled image: He sought, in Hamlet’s telling words to his palace players, “to hold the mirror up to nature,” and to report what he saw in that mirror – even his own veiled image – without distortion. “Life is made up,”, Hawthorne said, “of marble and mud.” In the pages of his finest works, both marble and mud are held in a just, unique, and artistic balance(95).... [tags: Ministers Black Veil Essays]
3124 words (8.9 pages)
- Nathaniel Hawthorn was an American novelist and short story writer. He is also a very interesting writer to analyze due to the psychological complexity of his work. Most of his works feature moral allegories with a Puritan inspiration. His fiction works are considered part of the Romantic Movement and, more specifically, dark romanticism. His themes often center on the inherent evil and sin of humanity, and his works often have moral messages and deep psychological complexity. More specifically, in “The Minister´s Black Veil” and “Young Goodman Brown” these qualities and characteristics of his works are quite easy to see.... [tags: literary analysis, critical essays, criticism]
1903 words (5.4 pages)
- Hawthorne’s Use of Allegory "The Minister's Black Veil" by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a short story that was first published in the 1836 edition of the Token and Atlantic Souvenir and reappeared over time in Twice-Told Tales, a collection of short stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The short story narrates the events following Reverend Mr. Hooper's decision to begin wearing a black veil that obscures his full face, except for his mouth and chin. Mr. Hooper simply arrives one day at the meeting house wearing the semi-transparent black veil and refuses from then on to take it of, leading to the loss of his fiancée and isolation form the world.... [tags: Literary Analysis ]
1200 words (3.4 pages)
- Impact of the Puritan Setting Upon the Characters in The Scarlet Letter and The Minister's Black Veil This essay will examine the thematic relevance to the Puritan setting and its impact upon the characters and their development in both "The Scarlet Letter" and the short story, "The Minister's Black Veil." These two texts detail an accurate portrayal of what I assume the Puritan community to represent. This is partly because of the Puritan background within the works, but also considering that the main characters of these are deeply rooted within the Puritan faith and are, in different ways, in the public eye and are under separate scrutiny as a result of such.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
903 words (2.6 pages)
- "The Minister's Black Veil" by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a short story that was first published in the 1836 edition of the Token and Atlantic Souvenir and reappeared over time in Twice-Told Tales, a collection of short stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The short story narrates the events that follow Reverend Mr. Hooper's decision to start wearing a black veil that obscures his full face, except for his mouth and chin. Mr. Hooper simply arrives one day at the meeting house wearing the semi-transparent black veil and refuses from that moment on to take it off, which leads to the loss of his fiancée and isolation from the world.... [tags: Literary Analysis ]
1530 words (4.4 pages)
- The Minister’s Black Veil The story “The Minister’s Black Veil” is symbolic of the hidden sins that we hide and separate ourselves from the ones we love most. In wearing the veil Hooper presents the isolation that everybody experiences when they are chained down by their own sins. He has realized that everybody symbolically can be found in the shadow of their own veil. By Hooper wearing this shroud across his face is only showing the dark side of people and the truth of human existence and nature.... [tags: Minister?s Black Veil Essays Papers]
588 words (1.7 pages)
- The Theme in “The Minister’s Black Veil” Morse Peckham in “The Development of Hawthorne’s Romanticism” explains what he interprets Hawthorne’s main theme to be in his short stories: This technique, though Hawthorne’s is different from that of European writers, creates analogies between self and not-self, between personality and the worlds. . . .Henceforth Hawthorne’s theme is the redemption of the self through the acceptance and exploitation of what society terms the guilt of the individual but which to the Romantic is society’s guilt (92).... [tags: Ministers Black Veil Essays]
2610 words (7.5 pages)
- “The Minister’s Black Veil” – Solitude Henry Seidel Canby in “A Skeptic Incompatible with His Time and His Past” explains regarding the solitude of Nathaniel Hawthorne: “His reserve and love of solitude were the defenses of an imagination formed by peculiar circumstances and playing upon circumstances still more peculiar” (55). Let us explore in this essay the solitude within “The Minister’s Black Veil” and its author. Herman Melville in “Hawthorne and His Mosses” (in Literary World, August 17, 24, 1850) comments on how the writer is seen by others: “But it is the least part of genius that attracts admiration.... [tags: Ministers Black Veil Essays]
3548 words (10.1 pages)
- “The Minister’s Black Veil” - Characterization This essay will demonstrate the types of characters present in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Minister’s Black Veil,” whether static or dynamic, whether flat or round, and whether portrayed through showing or telling. R. W. B. Lewis in “The Return into Rime: Hawthorne” states: “… there is always more to the world in which Hawthorne’s characters move than any one of them can see at a glance” (77). This is especially true with such flat or two-dimensional characters as are generally found in “The Minister’s BlackVeil.” These type characters are built on a “single idea or quality” and are presented without much “individualizing... [tags: Ministers Black Veil Essays]
2608 words (7.5 pages)