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In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Minister’s Black Veil,” Hawthorne advances the theme of secret sin by using Mr. Hooper, the main . In the opening scene of this story Mr. Hooper, a thirty year old minister, wore a black veil on his face which hid his facial features and expressions. Although his congregation was alarmed by the veil, they were in some ways drawn closer to Mr. Hooper out of mystery. As Mr. Hooper preached about secret sin, the congregation felt that he was talking about each one of them individually and that he knew the secrets that they were holding from the world. Throughout the story many people tried to convince Mr. Hooper to take the veil off but he simply denied their request and wore it all of his life. While on his deathbed, Mr. Hooper concluded that every human being wore a veil to conceal their secret sins. By wearing the veil it is indicated that Mr. Hooper had committed a crime that he wanted to hide from his congregation, or he wanted his congregation to realize that they were all wearing a veil that hid their secret sins.
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In his works, The Scarlet Letter and "The Minister's Black Veil", Hawthorne uses symbolism to present a common theme pertaining to religion; that though manifested sin will ostracize a person from society, un-confessed sin will destroy the soul.
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Perhaps, this particular process is commonly described in the idiom “reading between the lines.” While many writers have implanted this literary aspect into their works, this essay focuses on a specific parable written by Nathaniel Hawthorne entitled The Minister’s Black Veil.