The Minister's Black Veil - Literary Terms

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  • Characterization
  • Conflict
  • Symbolism
  • Mr. Hooper can be described as respectful and kind. In the story, the narrator states, "Turning his veiled face from one group to another, he paid due reverence to the hoary heads, saluted the middle aged with kind dignity as their friend and spiritual guide, greeted the young with mingled authority and love, and laid his hands on the little children's heads to bless them" (3).
  • Theme
  • The theme illustrated in the story is to not judge others without looking at your own sins first. In the story, Mr. Hooper says, "when man does not vainly shrink from the eye of his Creator, loathsomely treasuring up the secret of his sin; then deem me a monster, for the symbol beneath which I have lived, and die! I look around me, and lo! on every visage a Black Veil!" (9).
  • In "The Minister's Black Veil," the black veil symbolizes secret sin. Mr. Hooper says, "when man does not vainly shrink from the eye of his Creator, loathsomely treasuring up the secret of his sin; then deem me a monster, for the symbol beneath which I have lived, and die! I look around me, and, lo! on every visage a Black Veil!" (9). Mr. Hooper reveals to everyone how they have been judging him based only on the veil he wore and weren't seeing their own sins. Also, the narrator states, "But that piece of crape, to their imagination, seemed to hang down before his heat, the symbol of a fearful secret between him and them" (5). This is an example of the villagers judging Mr. Hooper based only on his veil.
  • The theme illustrated in the story is to not judge others without looking at your own mistakes first. Mr. Hooper said, "when man does not vainly shrink from the eye of his Creator, loathsomely treasuring up the secret of his sin; then deem me a monster, for the symbol beneath which I have lived, and die! I look around me, and lo! on every visage a Black Veil!" (9). Mr. Hooper revealed how everyone judged him without looking at themselves who were doing the same thing as him. Also, the narrator states, "The next day, the whole village of Milford talked of little else than Parson Hooper's veil" (4). The villagers were all spreading rumors about Mr. Hooper and his veil and judging him on his appearance.
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