What is the conflict in "The minister's Black Veil" by Hawthorne?

1 Answer

  • 9 years ago
    Best Answer

    The lifelong decision to wear the black veil represents the internal conflict Parson Hooper had with himself. What sin caused so much grief as to be reminded of it everyday haunted Hooper the rest of his life. Grief and a sense of depression fueled his inner battles. The external conflict included the minister an all others around him. He spent his life alone because of his refusal to open up to Elizabeth, and there were constant looks, whispers, and alienation from all others around him. The only time he was included was for sinners who saw a similarity in what he was doing.

    Symbols in the story include the black veil and the funeral of the young woman. The fact that the veil was black added on to it’s meaning. The color black represents death, grievance, and sadness. The veil hides the minister from the outside world revealing guilt and sin. The veil separates him from society and from God. (Dryden 138)

    This veil causes all of the negative attention, which ultimately leads to a life of isolation and depression. The funeral of the young woman symbolizes the sins of the minister. “The fact that the veil appears on the same day as the funeral could possibly mean that he either loved the woman or had something to do with her death.

    The major theme of the story is that of man’s living with his own sins. This is portrayed through Hooper’s sort of punishing himself for sins unknown to everyone else by wearing the veil. Because all others in the story were so worldly, they did not understand that his actions could have been done by all of them. They too should have been wearing a veil.



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