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A Judgmental Society in Ministers Black Veil and Scarlet Letter
Our society is too judgmental and it always has been. Even in the time
Hawthorne wrote of in The Scarlet Letter and in "The Ministers Black Veil"
people judged before they knew the truth.
Objects were judged even though they had no relevance on what really
happened. In "The Ministers Black Veil" no one knew why the minister wore
the veil but everyone assumed it meant shame and that he had something to
hide. I think that the minister thought that it was his mission to show
how superficial the people were. The ministers own fiancee left him
because no one knew anything about the veil he wore. Again in The Scarlet
Letter, I can think of two more major examples where an object was used
as a sign or omen. The first is of course the letter, it meant evil,
shame, and sin to the townspeople. All it was, was a letter nothing more,
nothing less. The second object that people took as a prolific sign was
the weeds on a grave. They reasoned that the weeds were there because of
the sins of that person, and that the weeds grew because flowers could not.
People then and now take symbols too deeply and meaningful.
People often take events to be meaningful and supernatural. In The
Scarlet Letter the meteor meant some great act of God or the Devil was
about to take place. All a meteor is, is a chunk of rock of that is being
incinerated in our atmosphere. As a second example, when a person was up
on the scaffold it meant that they deserved scorn and ridicule and no
mercy. The scaffold meant you had shame and guilt and it was for all the
others to see.
In those times people were taken to mean things as well. Hester was
good hearted and almost clean but was seen as a sinful evil person, to be
avoided at all costs. Chillingworth was seen as a kindhearted doctor only
there to help people when in actuallity he was an evil, sadistic man
concerned only with his complete revenge on Dimesdale. The minister, or
reverend, is seen as a holy reverent person, to be looked upon as a level
of holiness to achieve.
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sins but he is still seen as a holy idol.
People judge others without basis for their opinion, and without
knowing of the facts. Events were taken as symbolic when all they were was
a natural occurrence. Objects are made into symbols when often all they
are is an object, not meant to mean anything but always made to mean
something. Everything is judged and made to mean something when they are
meaningless. Our world is superficial and prejudice against what they do
not understand. They judge on appearances and circumstances. Most don't
even make an attempt at finding the facts.