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Two Passages from Hawthorne's "The Minister's Black Veil"

Two Passages from Hawthorne's "The Minister's Black Veil"

These passages dramatize the Doctrine of Original Sin. First, in speaking with his beloved friend Elizabeth, Mr. Hooper, the minister who has donned a black veil, observes the following:

"If I hide my face for sorrow, there is cause enough," he merely replied; "and if I cover it for secret sin, what mortal might not do the same?"

...

Then, still veiled on his deathbed, Hooper elaborates: "Why do you tremble at me alone?" cried he, turning his veiled face round the circle of pale spectators. "Tremble also at each other! Have men avoided me, and women shown no pity, and children screamed and fled, only for my black veil? What, but the mystery which it obscurely typifies, has made this piece of crape so awful? When the friend shows his inmost heart to his friend; the lover to his best beloved; when man does not vainly shrink from the eye of his Creator, loathsomely treasuring up the secret of his sin; then deem me a monster, for the symbol beneath which I have lived, and die! I look around me, and, lo! on every visage a Black Veil!"




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