The Minister's Black Veil: A Paradigm Essay

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Montbriand teaches writing and literature at Oakland University and St. Mary's College in Michigan. In the following essay, he refutes popular interpretations of the veil in Hawthorne's story, suggesting that the meaning of the veil is not found by looking into it, but in looking out of it, as the character Hooper does.

In "The Minister's Black Veil," Hawthorne calls the reader's attention to the veil as an obvious symbol, and critics have dutifully responded to the call. Criticism of Hawthorne's story has proceeded on the assumption that the veil hides something and is donned by Hooper to send a message to the congregation. But critics have overlooked another effect of the veil, which not only hides the face of the wearer from view but also colors his view of the world. Hooper is a Puritan minister who has realized the full significance of the Calvinist theology he...

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This section contains 2,081 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Minister's Black Veil: A Paradigm Study Guide
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