Everyone has a Black Veil

In Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story, The Minister's Blake Veil, Parson Hooper begins to wear a black veil over his face. Even though he continues to be kind to others and continues his job just as well as he had before, the congregation begins to fear him in a way. His life begins to be very lonely. No one talks to him, his wife leaves him, and the congregation gossip amongst each other trying to find out the purpose of his black veil. At the end of the story, Hooper is asked to take the veil off. He refuses, saying that he does not understand why people avoid him only because of his black veil.

I believe that this story is written in agreement with Puritan England. Hooper believes that he, as well as everyone else in the congregation, has done wrong and covers his face because of this. When the congregation turns a cold shoulder to him, Hooper does not understand why. He believes that everyone should hide their face from the world because of the wrongs they have done. This brings us back to the Puritan ideas. You could not enjoy anything and most everything was a sin. Hooper believed that everyone was a sinner and no one deserved to show their face in public.

Originally written October 28, 2008