Wednesday, October 29, 2008
A Little To Strict?
Hawthorne uses a simple thing such as the black veil and reveals a pretty reliable message with a lot of symbolism. The Puritans were very strict in the way they did everything back during colonization. The way they dressed, spoke, acted etc. was all kept under very strict discipline. I think that this is the only situation that Hawthorne could write this story under because of the unique social behavior of the Puritans. The fact that such a simple thing as wearing a black veil could cause so much gossip and reaction in general is phenomenal. In today's society, it would be an item of conversation for a little while but then eventually it would be forgotten and go unnoticed. This is because we don't act the same way the Puritans do. Hawthorne reveals the society of Puritans through this because he is saying that they are so worried about keeping this strict discipline that they are all hiding things. Everybody sins, and if you live in a society that frowns harshly upon sinning; then of course your going to hide your sins. The black veil represented a wall of some sort that hid Mr. Hooper away from society. The kids screamed and ran away, the men avoided him, and his lover abandoned him. This was all because of the energy or "cloud" that it brought where ever Mr. Hooper went. At the end when Mr. Hooper is about to die, he says "I look around me, and, lo! on every visage a Black Veil!" The people surrounding him on his death bed are all dying for Mr. Hooper to lift the veil and reveal what he's been hiding. When this is suddenly stopped and Mr. Hooper refuses to do so he expresses his anger that such diminishing treatment could come out of wearing such a simple piece of cloth. He then says that everyone around him wears a veil because they all hide something just like him. Hawthorne is expressing that the Puritans are amazing in the fact that they are so disciplined, but they are all forced to hide things but are shocked when one person actually does it. Mr. Hooper was the actual representation of everybody else and the fact that he was treated poorly was ridiculous. Everybody in that society was wearing the same veil, it just could not be seen. The Puritans were very unique, and Hawthorne expresses that but they were so caught up in their strict way of life that all of them had to be hiding something and this in itself was breaking their own discipline.