The Minister's Black Veil: A Paradigm Essay

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Freedman is a professor of English at the University of Haifa, Israel. In the following excerpt, he offers his interpretation of the veil as a symbol of Hawthorne's own alienation as an artist and his ultimate failure of imagination.

... In Carnochan's view, "The Minister's Black Veil," is less a parable of hidden guilt than an exercise in the complex employment of the artistic symbol, and, ultimately, a tale about the nature of such symbols. The principal effect of the veil is "to avert explicit statements of what it stands for." Creating meaning and simultaneously hiding it, inviting speculation and resisting it, the veil not only "conceal[s] what is behind it, but is a sign of that concealment." It is, in short, a "symbol of symbols":

Because the meaning of the veil consists only in what is hidden, meaning is lost in the very act of revelation. It...

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This section contains 3,834 words
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