Symbols are useful for explaining the meanings of a language. Their usage by writers and playwrights has encouraged diverse interpretations of the texts seen. Symbolic representations of documents, objects, actions, or circumstances require the reader to fully comprehend the plot. As a result, the various definitions make it easier to grasp the text setting and the real space. In Hawthorne, the Minister appoints Black Veil, there are several noticeable symbols that help to understand the story. The author espouses several instances of denial and secret sin through the typical use of the black veil. Thesis: In as much as the use of symbolism is evident in The Minister Black Veil, Hawthorne allusion to the black veil symbolizes the denial of sin.
Reflecting on the above introduction, Reverend Hooper adorns a black veil to hide his sinful nature from his congregation. Hawthorne, through the congregation gossip and other textual explications, hints Hooper involvement in the death of the buried young woman. One of the mourners says, I had a fancy that the minister and the maiden spirit were walking hand in hand. This statement invokes Hooper likely involvement in her death and the side-by-side walk hints to the possibility of the two being romantically involved. The narrator also notes that Hooper intends to marry Elizabeth, and the guilt of exposing her to his adulterous affair could have triggered the head covering, in spite of his conscious knowledge of his affair with the deceased. Therefore, the black veil repudiates accessibility to his adulterous nature, thereby denying reinforcing his Puritan status.
Although the cover demonstrates the reverend’s denial of adultery, it also shows the parishioners’ denial of their secret sins. The text hints that Hooper had enjoyed a close relationship with his followers until when he started wearing the black veil did his relationship with him grow stale. Hawthorne writes that the preacher had often interacted well with the crowd, offering them guidance and spiritually admonishing them. However, when he covers himself with the veil, the covering illuminates their dark and hidden sin. This is evident when one man says, “The strangest part of this affair (black cover) is the effect on a sober-minded man like myself.” Apparently, the parishioners understand and acknowledge their hidden sins, which seems to be reflected on the black cover that Hooper adorns. Their sheer dislike for the clothing and its color exhibits their pretentious puritanism, as shown by one woman’s outbursts when she retorts “I don’t like it.” As a result, they live in denial of their transgressions.
Despite the above revelations, the cover further shields the reverend from acknowledging his wrongdoing. The narrator hints that when Hooper looks into the mirror, he cannot see himself. Ideally, the mirror is a self-reflection tool, allowing the user to see themselves for in their totality. The fact that the preacher cannot gaze into his face implies that he cannot reflect on his past actions, thereby shielding him from self-acknowledgment of his wrongdoing. The habit portrays his façade of righteousness and innocence that was reminiscent in the orthodox Puritan theology. As a result, the inability to look into his own sinful personhood confirms his denial of sin.
Symbols are important in the explication of the intended textual meaning of a piece of literature. Although objects, situation, and acts can symbolize different denotations, their use is dependent on context and spatial history. In Hawthorne The Minister Black Veil, the author figuratively uses the black veil to conceal Reverend Hooper sin from himself and his congregation, while the latter use it to hide their conscious wrongdoings. As a result, the symbol signifies the denial of involvement in any transgression.
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