ThemesCan anyone list the main themes in The Ministers Black Veil? Thank you.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Secret sin is a key theme of Hawthorne's short story.  Tortured by the hypocrisy of Puritanism as part of his heritage, Hawthorne continually addresses the Calvinist doctrines of this ideology that effected the need for people to hide the human weaknesses of their hearts for fear of punishment and ostracism from the community.  Thus, there is also the theme alienation in "The Minister's Black Veil" as the Reverend Mr. Hooper becomes a pariah to many in his congregation after his donning of the veil on his face.

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Some themes are the consequences of being different, perception versus reality, and don't cross a line you can't come back from. I suggest the first because people's perceptions of the minister, and his perception of himself, change after he begins wearing the veil.
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skrusiewicz | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

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ministers raven im a blonde.... i ment "The Minister's Black Veil" sorry for the grammatical errors bare with me please!

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skrusiewicz | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

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secret sin is a theme of hawthornes the ministers raven. Throughout the story reverend Hooper wears a physical veil to show how people in society wear mental veils to guard their most deepest darkest thoughts (secret sins) from the world and even God himself. The reverend in the story has realized that this is what's happening in society and took it upon himself to become a sort of martyr for his cause in showing everyone the realities that they so strongly tried to forget. That being said you can also see why the congregation began to fear him, because he was ripping them out of their bliss happiness and reminded them of the truth. in the end on his death bed the good Reverend says to them

" why do you tremble at me alone?....... lo! on every visage a Black Veil!"

in his last words the reveerend tells his people that they had no reason to fear him alone just because his face was covered because in reality they all wore black veils. He continues on to say that they needed to stop hiding from one another and to casts aside the veils.

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