The Minister's Black Veil: A Paradigm Essay

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In the following excerpt, Carnochan presents his interpretation of the veil as symbol, emphasizing that Hawthorne uses it in the story to explore the nature of all such symbols.

"The Minister's Black Veil," one of Hawthorne's early tales (1836), has a reputation as one of his best. It has had less attention than, say, "Rappaccini's Daughter" or "My Kinsman, Major Molineux," no doubt because it is in some ways less problematic and is a less bravura piece than are they. Still the story presents its own kind of difficulties, and there is no critical unanimity among its readers. On one view the Reverend Mr. Hooper is a saintly figure, calling his people to repentance in the manner of an old testament prophet; on another view he is a victim of monomaniac obsession, one of Hawthorne's unpardonable sinners or, even, a type of antichrist. Between these extremes, opinion shades off...

(read more from the Critical Essay #3 section)

This section contains 2,838 words
(approx. 8 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Minister's Black Veil: A Paradigm Study Guide
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