The Veil Uncensored Nathaniel Hawthorne 's Masterpiece Unmasking Humanity's Sins

The Minister's Black Veil is an excellent example of an Allegorical Tale. Nathaniel Hawthorne presented in one short story everything that makes for educational reading. Using the sins of his own family's past to fuel his imagination, he crafted a story of how one man's guilt comes to represent the hidden sins of his whole community. More importantly he shows us how easily our own sins can be brought from the darkness into the light.

The nature of humanity is sin. We cannot overcome this nature by ourselves. It is only through God's aid that we can battle sin. Hawthorne paints the portrait of this natural sin and one man's struggle with it. Hooper chooses to hide himself away and builds a wall, the black veil, around himself to lock his sinful nature away. If given the choice, would you put on the veil to protect yourself from your own sinful nature or face it uncovered and free to let your struggle be seen by all? What are the sins hidden behind the masks of civilized humanity? The sins that we all know exist but deny exist in our communities? Deny that they can be committed by people we know? These are the sins hidden by the Black Veil.

What of the sins we hide? Hawthorne's entire focus with The Minister's Black Veil was in showing that no matter what we do behind the veil of our lives, it will always be brought into the light for all to see.

These are the sins Hawthorne wished us to see. Not the blackness of the veil, but the real person underneath. The person we all hide from others. The person many of us hide from even ourselves. Reverend Hooper saw himself and that vision changed him. It is up to us as readers to decide. Did it change him for the better or the worst. After reading, did it change us the same way? That is the question we must ultimately ask and live with the answer we wish to reveal to ourselves.


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