IN "THE MINISTERS BLACK VEIL" BY NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE THE STORY IS A PARABLE, DISCUSS THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PARABLE.

Expert Answers
sagetrieb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A parable is a short tale illustrating a moral lesson. A parable is often an allegory that tells a story on a literal level but has an allegorical meaning on an abstract level. Unlike Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown," "The Minister's Black Veil" is not quite an an allegory because it does not have characters representing abstract ideas. Instead, Hooper wears his veil for a particular reason. In fact, he tells his congregation that it is a symbol--and we infer that it symbolizes his recognition of his own evil nature and the evil nature of all humankind. He tells Elizabeth is is "but a mortal veil--it is not for eternity," meaning that when he dies he will be cleansed of his sin and will no longer constantly be aware of the sins of others for he will be with God in heaven.  For that reason, he dies with a "faint smile lingering on" his lips. Unfortunately--and this is the moral lesson--his constant awareness of evil and forcing atttention of others to confront it as well turns him into a gloomy and unhappy and lonely man. Hawthorne's point is to criticize the Puritan ideology that emphasized the evil nature of human beings for thinking about this takes the goodness out of life and ruins human relationships. 

Read the study guide:
The Minister's Black Veil

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question