Minister's Black Veil Literary Analysis

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Literary Analysis In this passage of The Minister’s black veil we see how the veil, a symbol of hidden sin, isolates and alienates the once loved Minister. In this excerpt, his once fiancé, is trying to understand the purpose of the veil. She, like the other towns people, inherent nature to speculate the horrific sins that he may be confessing through this veil fails to realize her own sin. The sin of her and the town’s people is that they shun him, because of a simple veil, and in doing so demonstrate how shallow and unappreciative their faith is. Hawthorne uses characterization to victimize the minister and point out the flaws of the wife. He shows us that, “The color rose in her cheeks as she imitated the nature of the rumors that were already abroad in the village.” The color in her cheeks shows that she is ashamed of her lover for making them the talk of the town by being so honest about his sin. This shame plays on the puritan value of conformity. This theme is again shown when she is trying to understand why her husband is dealing with his sin in such an abstract way; she decides that is must be the cause of “mental disease”. We are shown countless times that he is the same person that was once admired in the village; it is only the people’s perception of him through the veil that has changed. He was still the same kind man, whose “mildness did not forsake him”. He even smiled the same “sad smile, which always appeared like a faint glimmering light.” The light and dark elements of the writing contrast the coexistence of sin and holiness within the minister. The symbolism of the veil can be interpreted in many ways. We know that the discomfort of the town’s people in relation to the Minister is at fault of the veil. One could interpret their discomfort as their fear of what they do not understand. It could also be their favoring of conformity. Most
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