Friday, January 20, 2012


The Minister's Black Veil by Hawthorne is a pretty crazy tale. It has many traits of Dark Romanticism, like the solitary protagonist and the pessimistic view of human nature. It is far more focused on emotion that reason, like other works in the Romanticism style. It also has a deep psycological effect that is a little hard to describe.

According to Christine Kruger, one of the defining features of Dark Romanticism is the solitary, dark protagonist. This is very apparent in The Minister's Black Veil. The main character, Mr. Hooper, spends his entire life alone behind a black veil. That must be the definition of dark and solitary, after all, the veil is black. The solitary protagonist shows up a lot in Romanticism writing, and The Minister's Black Veil is certainly no exception.

The really dark, pessimistic view of human nature and humanity in general is the destinctive quality of Dark Romanticism. The theme of The Minister's Black Veil is that people all have evil spots on their souls, and no one truly wants to acnologe it. Because the entire theme is about the hidden darkness within everyone, the story definitly fits in with other works of Dark Romanticism.

The emotion in The Minister's Black Veil is really important. During the story, the reader has trouble deciding whether to like the minister for his kind service or distrust his because of the ominous blcak veil he wears. A pretty good deal of the story described the different emotions the black veil inspired in different situations. When he is ministering a funeral, the reader feels affection for how sympathetic he is toward the mourners of the dead woman. When he is at a wedding, the reader gets suspicious toward him for making such a joyous occasion into a dark and suspenceful one.

James Mellow writes about the difference between a mask and a veil, and its importance in the story. A mask completely changes the perception of a person, and makes it seem totally different. A veil just covers something, maybe just one small aspect, from view. It still allows the person to be viewed as it is, but just hides something from view. This is important because even though just one aspect of Hooper is hidden by a veil, it completely changes the way people see him, as if he was wearing a mask.

The psycology in the story of The Minister's Black Veil is really interesting, in that the veil effects people in two ways, both with the same effect. When people see the veil covering their minister's face, it makes them think that there is some deep sin on his soul, so they start to avoid and fear him. The other, more important thing they think of when they see the veil and think of hidden sin, they are reminded of their own secrets they hid deep inside and try hard not to recall. They are afraid to see him and be around him because it reminds them of this, and they really, really do not want to be reminded.

Hawthorne,, Nathaniel. "The Minister's Black Veil, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1836." Eldritch Press. Web. 20 Jan. 2012. .

Krueger, Christine, ed. "Romanticism." Encyclopedia of British Writers,19th
Century, vol. 1. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2002. Bloom's
LiteraryReference Online. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 16 Jan.

Mellow, James R. Nathaniel Hawthorne in His Times (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1980): pp. 60–61. Quoted as "Hawthorne's Veil" in Harold Bloom, ed. Nathaniel Hawthorne, Bloom's Major Short Story Writers. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishing, 2001. (Updated 2007.) Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 16 Jan. 2012. BMSSNH16&SingleRecord=True.

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