Nathaniel Hawthornes Minister's Black Veil is one of the most iconic stories that is still very influential today having been written several years ago. The book was published in 1836 as a short story in The Token and Atlantic Souvenir, which was edited by Samuel Goodrich. The story has also appeared in other anthologies such as Twice-Told Tales in 1937. The story is significant because of the themes it addresses as well as the symbols, which are still relevant in the society today. The most prevalent theme in the story is that of the concept of original sin as explained in most religions including Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Since the story has a religious inclination, it has been studied over an d over by many religious people over the years, making it remain relevant in discussing religion, sin, and guilt in the contemporary society. From a personal perspective the story is one of the most influential short stories that I have ever read.
The story begins when Parson Hooper, a reverend in the city arrives for a church service with his face covered in a black veil. This is unusual to the congregation, who immediately begin to gossip and speculate over the real meaning of the veil. While others believe that the minister is mad, others are of the opinion that the veil has been used to cover some heinous sin. However, this does not distract the preacher, who delivers a very powerful sermon that moves the congregation. After the mass, the reverend attended a funeral and later on a wedding. His appearances at both events surprised people and got the town talking more about the significance of his apparel.
I find the ambiguity which comes with the ministers appearance very appealing to me in the story as it helps to reveal a lot about the nature of men in the society today. The ministers veil makes people more curious about their own lives, delving more in to the causes and nature of their inherent sins. On the other hand, while they continue to speculate about the sins of the minister and the cause of his black veil, the townsmen forget about their own sins. Instead, they see themselves as righteous people while they consider their minster to be a sinner put to hide his sins. This is the hypocritical nature of men that the story seeks to uncover. In my own personal experience, I have come to understand that people will always be pout to point out the mistakes of others, while keeping their own mistakes for themselves. Most people in the society today are hypocritical. Besides, the fact that the story is set in a religious setting makes it more imperative to concentrate on the hypocritical nature of people. The church is meant to house people who follow the teachings of God to the later, and as such, they would try to shun from sin.
On the other hand, it is t-in places such as this that the most evil minded people reside. The fact that the church members would think negative of their own minister makes it more worthwhile to discuss the question of hypocrisy. In essence, the story asks us to look deep in our lives, and to focus more on our lives as opposed to being hypocritical.
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