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What is the mood of the scene before the arrival of the minister in "The Minister's...

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user2514261 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 12, 2013 at 10:18 PM via web

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What is the mood of the scene before the arrival of the minister in "The Minister's Black Veil".

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 13, 2013 at 3:19 PM (Answer #1)

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In "The Minister's Black Veil" the mood prior to the arrival of the minister is meant to contrast dramatically with the subsequent pivotal event of witnessing the man's creepy black veil over his face.

For this reason, the story reads:

Children, with bright faces, tripped merrily beside their parents, ...in the conscious dignity of their Sunday clothes. Spruce bachelors looked sidelong at the pretty maidens.. the sexton began to toll the bell, keeping his eye on the Reverend Mr. Hooper's door.

This is very similar to the mood created in "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson. The town goes about business as usual, displaying all the dynamics of the simple folk. Children play, old men wait for service to begin, and young couples flirt with each other. It is, by all means, a typical morning before Church. There is absolutely no acknowledgement of the demons that lurk beneath our hearts, nor about the fact that, in the end, we are all savages and sinners. This is mainly the message behind the veil, which will shake the foundation of an otherwise peaceful and happy village.

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