The CuriousPages Sketchbook

The story: The Minister’s Black Veil

My comments on the story: The Minister’s Black Veil, by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

The ending seemed disappointing. The moral of the story seems to be: that we all wear a veil but don’t know it. The minister’s veil is worn to symbolize this, and he is amused when observing people’s reaction to his veil, since they don’t realize that they wear a veil themselves.

I like every aspect of this story, except for the weak ending. It seems that he has constructed the whole story from this simple idea, but has failed to also form a suitable climax to the story out of this same idea. Therefore the ending seems weak.

The writer was writing at a time when religious belief played a much bigger part in people’s lives, and perhaps writing a whole story to simply portray a moral (such as: we all wear a veil but don’t know it), was much more valid at that time, and would have seemed rewarding? Or perhaps it’s just bad story construction and he thought that it was sufficient that his story to simply portray this idea, and that there was therefore no need to create a satisfying shape to the story. I don’t know; you tell me.


Read the story here.


15 October 2008



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