Friday, November 2, 2007

The Minister's Black Veil

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Questions...Answer all in complete sentences.
Thinking About the Selection
1. How do the members of the parish react when they first see Parson Hooper wearing his black veil?
2. What is different about PArson Hooper's sermon on the first day he wears the veil? What is the subject of the sermon?
3. How does Elizabeth react when PArson Hooper refuses to remove his veil?
4. What is its "one desirable effect?"
5. What happens when Reverend Mr. Clark tries to remove the veil while Parson Hooper is lying on his deathbed? What does PArson Hooper suggest is the reason that people have been terrified by his veil?
6. How does the black veil affect PArson Hooper's perceptions of the world? In what ways does it isolate him from the rest of the world? Why does it make him a more effective minister?
7. What does Parson Hooper mean when he tells Elizabeth, "There is an hour to come...when all of us shall cast asides our veils"?
8. Why does the black veil ahve such a powerful effect on people? What do you think it represents?
9. Why do you think Hawthorne chooses not to reveal the reason that Hooper begins wearing the veil?
10. Hawthorne suggests that all people have certain secrets that they choose not to reveal to anyone. Explain why you either do or do not agree with this suggestion.

Analyzing Literature
1. In what ways does the story reflect the Anti-transcendentalists' belief that people possess the potential for both good and evil?
2. The Anti-transcendentalists believed that the truths of existence tend to be elusive and disturbing. What disturbing truth does Hawthorne convey through Hooper and his black veil?
3. How does the parishioners' inability to grasp the meaning of Hooper's veil reflect the Anti-transcendentalists' belief in the elusiveness ofthe truth?

Critical Thinking and Reading
Hawthorne had a gloomy vision that was possibly shaped by his awareness of the intolerance and cruelty of his Puritan ancestors. Therefore, he was unable to accept the optimistic views of the Transcendentalists. Like a number of Hawthorne's works, this story is set in Puritan New England. Judging from the story, do you think Hawthorne had a negative attitude toward the Puritans? Explain your answer.