Friday, October 31, 2008

"The Minister's Black Veil": Live Blogging

This is your final fishbowl, so enjoy it, make me proud, and have a happy Halloween!

102 comments:

Laurenc said...

I'd love to start out with a few clirifications. What do you all think this story was really about? I for one was very confused.

morganw said...

laurenc - I think it was really about how in order for society to function normally it needs a scapegoat.

alexf said...

Well, first off, what did you guys think about the ending? What was Nathaniel Hawthorne trying to say?

Also, did anyone get the feeling that Mr. Hooper was actually dead? (Like he was a kind of walking dead?)

Laurenc said...

morganw - I never really thought about it that way. But I can see how that might be true. What do you think they needed the minister as a scapegoat for though?

roser said...

Well what do you think the sketchy veil represented??

AustinD said...

I@Lauren: 'm a bit confused (in which bit means a lot).

I think it means that we all have secrets and lies that we have on our chest and we hide our heads under our veils in shame, nowhere near ready to take it off.

alexf said...

Morgan W~
How does his black veil represent a scapegoat? Can you clarify and explain please?

jordans said...

Do you think the veil can be metaphorical? Like a literal message of something like “losing face”

chelseas said...

Okay so I have a question-I never found out why he wore the veil and what was under it. Did I miss something, or was this the case, and it wasn't mentioned?

whitneys said...

LaurenC - I was also confused the first time I read it. But I think the story was largely about sin and its affect on us and how it seperates us from God. Did you notice the word parable at the beginning? Also, he had to see the world as it really was, a black, sinful place.

Does anyone else have any thoughts?

MattN said...

I thought that the black veil symbolized all of the bad things and burdens in the town and the minister had to take on all of these burdens!Therefore he was so soured at the end of the story he would not even want to take it off because it controlled him and he needed the bad things to live!

sabrinad said...

Alex- I got the feeling that he was the walking dead- I feel that he fell into this "role" because he was so pushed out of society to begin with.

Laurenc said...

Alex - I think the ending was asking why you would treat anyone differently because they look different. I think the whole story might have been a test to see how the townspeople would treat the minister if he wore the veil 24/7.

morganw said...

alexf- I definitely thought he was dead. Throughout the whole thing I thought he was dead.

marissas said...

Alex- thats an interesting take on Mr. Hooper. I kind of got the feeling that he wasn't lively, like maybe he was half-dead if that makes sense. But, I don't really think he was actually dead.

whitneys said...

chelseas - I do not think they ever told us what was actually underneath the veil, but it was hinted that it was just his normal face.

mollyd said...

Chelsea- I don't really know why he was wearing the veil. I thought something bad had happened to his face but the author never tells why he wore the veil. I think he was just trying to make a point.

jordans said...

I thought it was interesting that it was a black veil and it reminded me of weddings when the brides wear white veils. How can you compare and contrast these similar sumbols?

sabrinad said...

Lauren_ I agree with your idea of "no one should be treated differently because of what they looked like". I made several connections to racism throughout the book.

morganw said...

lauren - I don't know. I think that's the whole point though. We don't know what the people have or have not done and so therefore someone needs to take that blame because not everyone owns up to their sins.

Laurenc said...

Whitney - how depressing...but it makes me think. The story makes me think Mr. Hooper took on all the world's sins, which is what you said but I agree. It was like he was repenting for the sins of all his followers and had taken on their burdens as a life sentence.

chelseas said...

Rose~ I was thinking that the black veil was like a shield that is blocking him from something that he is unconfortable with. I think that it is used to represent a fear or a problem that he was trying to hide himself from.

MattN said...

MoprganW- Why the heck do you think he is dead? did the veil make him dead? or what?

alexf said...

SabrinaD~
Yes, well, I got the feeling that he was dead because the dead lady shuddered when she was exposed to his true face and he couldn’t REALLY explain why he wore it (It was just like, we all have sin and that’s it). Another reason is because he couldn’t even look in the mirror! He was scaring everyone including himself and the DEAD! If he scared the dead, he must be dead!

AustinD said...

@Chelsea: I think that what the inner circle explained fits your response; either to make himself as a scapegoat or to hide his shame for something (which then is a cliffhanger you really don't need to understand the plot).

There really isn't anything concrete to say exactly why he wore it.

melissaz said...

I agree Lauren, this story was hard to get the true meaning of. I guess I think that the story was portraying the minister as a scape goat of the town. The reason I think this is because he feels he must wear the veil totally, even though he becomes a sort of "leapor" to the society. As Morgan in the inner cicle is explaining, he needed to carry the wait of something for the whole town. Through the experiance, he was rejected by the town, but also had time to reflect on the true meaning of the veil. As the story progresses, the author begins to write with the veil as its own character. And Mr. Hooper seems to feel that everyone does have a veil, yet he suffered for his own.

Laurenc said...

Morganw - I think, like me and Whitney are talking about, that the burden may be the sins of the townspeople. I'm very interested in the scapegoat theory though, because I had never thought of it that way before.

KiraW said...

Do you think that he may have been trying to see how people would judge him if he were to wear the veil? Sort of see the stereotypes the town would make of him?

morganw said...

mattn - I don't know in particular. I just thought he seemed that way.

Madisont said...

This is Rachel

I think the veil represents hiding from the truth and from reality. It's like when you feel fat you wear a big shirt or hoddie to hide from it.

roser said...

chelsea-I definitely agree, I was getting the vibe he did something immorale, and felt ashamed enough he would outcast himslef from society.

chelseas said...

Whitney and Molly~ Thanks-I was confused at the end, and I just wanted to be sure that I didn't miss something.

On another note...I have a question for everyone. Why do you think that nobody asked or confronted him about the black veil if it bothered them so much?

delaney n said...

I believe the story becomes 100 times more powerful if there is virtually nothing wrong with his face under the veil.

mollyd said...

Kira- I think if he was doing that sort of test then he would not have kept it on for the rest of his life. I think he would wear the veil then see the reactions and then take it off. Otherwise it would be a really long test.

melissaz said...

Alex- yeah, now that you bring that point up, he did seem to become almost a dead man. He lost all aspects of his personality and the people feared him. Death has an overwhelming power over people, and Mr. Hooper seems to gain an extreme amount of power when he has this veil and people come from all over to see this incredibly horrifying man and his black veil.

morganw said...

laurenc - I connect almost everything to the scapegoat theory because a part of it is in my personal philosophy statement.

alexf said...

MarissaS~
I agree, I don’t think that he was truly, truly dead, but I really got the feeling that he was like a living dead. Now, this may be because he stopped living! He wasn’t dead, but he wasn’t living either. Think about it, he just sort of gave up his life because he got depressed by all the sins, so, I think, he selfishly put on a veil to warn others of the sin. He just had a pessimistic look on everything, which “killed his soul”.

LaurenC~
I agree! Throughout the entire story you could see the differences between how they treated Mr. Hooper with and without the veil. It really did seem like an experiment to me, but I thought that it was odd how he was so intent on keeping it on his face until death!

roser said...

chelsea- I thought that the wife or some old lady confronted him about, but was shut down by his explanation...If I am rememebering correctly

Laurenc said...

Kira - I think that may be part of it. That was my original thoughts in a nutshell but now I'm beggining to think it was more about Mr. Hooper repenting for either his own sins or the townspeoples. The quote at the end makes me think of this because he says he sees a veil on everyones face which makes me think everyone has a sin they need to repent for. Of course it's very confusing and could probably be interepreted in a thousand different ways.

Madisont said...

witney is talking about getting comfort from the world and saying you can't find it there. I have to disagree just because i think that is what love is for and thats what he truely earned for. I think that he was hiding from h.is true desires. He didn't want to feel a certain way so he hid from himself

mollyd said...

Chelsea- His wife actually went and confronted him about the veil. She tried to get him to take it off and tell why he was wearing it. When he didn't do what she wanted she left him becasue she didn't want to live with a hidden person.

meganu said...

I agree with Matt. I thought that the black veil represented all the bad things that were not only in the world, but also all the bad that surrounded him and his life. He couldn't make it through all of the bad unless he can see the good in everything. Like the inner circle is saying, he needed to focus on the more important matters in his life.

AustinD said...

@Chelsea: It really depends on why he wore the veil in the first place. In my opinion, it was because he was a minister and, this is slightly going on a limb, no one really wants to argue with a religious leader.

Laurenc said...

Alex - which makes me think the veil may not have been JUST an experiment. I definetly think the experiment idea is quite prominent but it seems like there is more too it...any thoughts?

delaney n said...

ChelseaS- I think that people wouldn't ask the minister about his veil because they were intimidated by it. As much as they wanted to know the truth, I think their fear of the truth overwhelmed their desire to know.

morganw said...

delaney - That's a very interesting point. I agree. It makes it seem like an innocent sacrifice when he's done nothing wrong. That's how I saw him throughout the story. Well, after I got over thinking he was dead.

alexf said...

MelissaZ~
Yea! Didn’t you find it really weird that as soon as Mr. Hooper became a pessimist who believed that everyone is horrible and who couldn’t even bear to show his face, he became powerful? It’s kind of backward that once he became “evil” he received power! Huh.

melissaz said...

Delaney- I honestly think that he had nothing personally to hide but he was taking on something of the town. He was not wearing the veil to hide his own falts or troubles, but an outside problem he felt the need to portray.

MattN said...

Delany! Yeah I totally agree i totally thought that there was nothing wrong with his face! more so the fact that the veil represented all of the sins of the town and by putting it on he was helping out the town!

chelseas said...

Rose-Oh yeah, I forgot about that. I found it sort of odd that he wouldn't even share anything with his wife. I was wondering why Elizabeth had to choose whether or not to leave or to stay and become veiled as well. What do you think made her make this decision, and why wouldn't he even tell his wife?

jordans said...

I think that the veil is comparative how people today wear “masks” to hide their emotions and have a barrier or a wall up to not get close to people, I saw this a lot with the minister’s relationship with the girl is that I showed that meaningful people can leave if we don’t let them get close. But also I think he was waiting for the right person to break our walls and lift our veils. I think it was kind of like a test to see who really cared and wanted to know who he was under all the beliefs and religion. We all are like the minister and want people to look past those things.

sabrinad said...

Why do you guys think the minister is always smiling?

marissas said...

Alex- I really like that. So he was a "living dead" because he gave up his own life. I don't know that I wouldn't necessarily say he did that selfishly, but that really makes a lot of sense.

alexf said...

LaurenC~
Well, maybe it wasn’t so much of an experiment for the town, but more for him? What I mean by this is maybe he needed to test himself and discover who he truly is, it was just (sort of) selfish and bad-timing for him to wear the veil and to affect the entire town. Maybe he really didn’t want the town to care, but they did anyways? (Does that make sense?)

roser said...

sabrinaDERMO-I feel like the Minister didn't lose any of his personality, with the veil...saying this, I think he was a pretty happy guy and maintained this cheerfulness despite the towns shuns

MattN said...

Sabrina~ I think he wanted to keep positive the whole time but the veil suppressed most of his happy reactions so he had to keep happy whatever he had left, so he wouldn't go totally crazy!

whitneys said...

mattn - I disagree with you about having to take all the bad things of the town. I think he had to put that blakc veil on to maybe focus more closely on God. When all else around is dark, he becomes your only light. Again the whole parable thing.

Laurenc said...

Sabrina - I'm really glad you brought that up!! I thought about it a lot too and I think the reason he is always smiling is because he is trying to see the good in these people despite the way they treat him with the veil. I think Mr. Hooper sees the good in people even when it isn't apparant though it seems to me at the end he snaps. Also have you ever smiled when you're trying not to cry so that people won't worry? That could be part of it too.

mollyd said...

Sabrina- I don't know because if he was really carrying all the sins of the people then it would seem that he wouldn't be smiling and that he would be sadder. Maybe he was just adding more to the weirdness and unknown of the veil.

chelseas said...

Delaney- I agree that there was really nothing that was wrong with his face, and that he was just putting it on. I also agree with your comment on my question about why nobody confronted him about it. I totally agree that he intimidated people with it, and so therefore refused to talk to him about it.

marissas said...

Sabrina- I think the minister is always smiling to counteract the feeling his veil gives off to the rest of the world. He is showing that his outward appearance may not neccasarily show how he feels on the inside.

Laurenc said...

Alex - That's a very interesting take on it. So by testing himself is he seeing how he will react to the pressure put on him by the town? Or did you mean something different?

melissaz said...

Sabrina- I totally agree. I had a ahrd time understanding why he continued to smile, even in the worst of times. I think it may have been because he felt he knew and understood something that he knew no one else did. When people know something that no one else does, they seem to give a smile of all knowing. Through his experiance under the veil, he grew to understand so much more about the town and the world in general. He understood dark aspects of the town no one else did. So that is kind of the reason he always has a faint smile

roser said...

chelsea- Yeah for sure I don't know why he would not tell his wife, because it seems natural to tell your spouse issues that seem important to you, right?

MattN said...

Whitney~ I see where you are coming from but, everyone gives him more attention, and he is almost seeming to stray from the religious path!

marissas said...

This is Karly-

sabrina- I think that the minister was always smiling because by covering his face he reached a new level of self worth. By seperating himself from the community through the veil he could show more of himself emotionialy and teach through his actions.

alexf said...

MarissaS~
Haha, ya, I don’t think that the story/author really ever even came close to saying that he was selfish, but I got that feeling because he scared so many people! Little children were running away screaming from him because he wanted to wear a black veil. To me, that sounds a little selfish, but, now to contradict myself :), Maybe it wasn’t actually his choice. Maybe he felt that he NEEDED to wear the black veil and the consequences were just something he had to live with. Hmmm, comments?

morganw said...

Mollyd - But his smile was always a melancholy and sad smile. Like he was trying to smile through the weight of the world.

sabrinad said...

So question...Is the girl he talked to his wife because in the beggining I thought it said he was 30 and a bachelor.??

whitneys said...

sabrinad and rosern - I agree with Rose, I do not think the minister lost his personality with the veil. He stayed the exact same person. This similarity is brought up many times in the story.

KateP said...

madisont- I agree I think that the minister did something bad, and the veil represented how he was trying to hide. I also think he was trying to make a point to all the people too though.

Laurenc said...

Sabrina - I believe the woman was his love interest. Not his wife

whitneys said...

What do you guys think is the signifcance of him seeming to be closer to the dead?

marissas said...

This is Karly-

"I know what you believe not by what you say, but by the things you do"

How can this quote be applied to this story and the minister wearing the veil?

chelseas said...

Rose- That is what I was thinking. You would think that he would trust her the most because she has been so faithful to him, but this didn't seem to be the case...

mollyd said...

Morgan W- Well that is a good point. Know that I think about it, I think he was just trying to make the best of what was happening and get through all the ingnorance that he recieved.

delaney n said...

Whitneys and mattn- I agree with Matt. I can totally see what you are saying about the whole "God becomes your only light" thing, but I think the veil would be a pretty pathetic way to do that. He is definately attracting more attention to himself for some reason or another, and I don't think if he wanted to be completely focused on God he would have chosen this method. It just seems odd to me...

Laurenc said...

Karly - Because actions speak louder then words. How better to show conviction then by a consistent act?

alexf said...

LaurenC~
Exactly! He either could have been testing himself to see is he could handle all the judgements made about him by the town, or he could have been testing himself to see if he could really live while having to look through a black veil for his entire life. (If you think about it, it would have stunk to wear a black veil that constantly reminded you that the world is full of sins, so maybe he was testing himself to see is he could live with such a depressing thought).

alexf said...

WhitneyS~
(I copied this from my previous comment).

I agree, I don’t think that he was truly, truly dead, but I really got the feeling that he was like a living dead. Now, this may be because he stopped living! He wasn’t dead, but he wasn’t living either. Think about it, he just sort of gave up his life because he got depressed by all the sins, so, I think, he selfishly put on a veil to warn others of the sin. He just had a pessimistic look on everything, which “killed his soul”.

Laurenc said...

Alex - I agree completely. And you're right, wearing a black veil and keeping the burden of so many sins on your shoulders would wear anyone down.

whitneys said...

mattn - I disagree that he is seeming to stray. The story tells of how he became a more effective minister.

Yet again, I could see your point of view when he is inflicting fear. But isn't that similar to The Crucible and fearing God. He wanted the people to love God, but to also fear him.

roser said...

WhitneyS-I agree with you in that i think he wore the veil to focus on something, not sure if it was God, but I see where you are coming from. I feel like he committed some sin, bad enough to make him "punish" himself with some redirection...just a thought

marissas said...

Alex- I understand your point, but I got the feeling that it wasn't his choice and that he did need to wear it for whatever personal reason. So, maybe him coming across as selfish was just one of the consequences he was willing to accept. But, your probably right...

melissaz said...

Karly/Marissa- This quote greatly applies to the actions of the Minister. He does not use his words to create the point, but instead through his actions, he created an even stronger effect by not saying anything to the towns people. I have heard many times, talk is cheap, and actions speak louder than words. Yeah, these are a little cheesy, but they totally apply to this story. Many times events are most successful when people put the actions above words.

MattN said...

Question:
We are carrying on this conversation, but we never really established why the minister put on the veil in the first place! and what it really stands for!! What are your thoughts?!

whitneys said...

alexf - I can see where you get that vibe, yet I feel like he is still alive because the veil's purpose could be to bring him closer to God thus closer to those who died.
I think you can look at it two different ways. The black veil could represent his sorrow and sin, or it could be a juxtaposition of the brillance of his soul against the blackness of the veil.

meganu said...

I disagree with Delaney. I don't really think he started wearing the veil to attract attention. I definately feel like he was trying to lower himself from everyone else. Like he wanted to deal with the humiliation that he would have once he started wearing the veil. The people didn't like the veil at all so that shows that his intentions for wearing the veil weren't positive at all, at least for himself.

sabrinad said...

"I had a fancy," replied she, "that the minister and the maiden's spirit were walking hand in hand." - THis quote was said after the funeral of the women. How does or might this connect to the reason he might be wearing a black veil.

Laurenc said...

Matt - We are trying to interpret the story and give possible reasons why he may have put on the real one. We won't ever know why he actually did it...

alexf said...

MarissaS~
No, no, no, I totally get your point and agree. I was talking with Lauren about how he may have had to test himself to see if he could handle wearing a veil and constantly being reminded that the world is full of sins…which is such a depressing thought. Maybe the jugdements made by society (and me…being selfish) were just one of the consequences that he had to deal with with wearing the veil…

chelseas said...

Matt~I think that he wore the veil because he was trying to hide something. I was thinking that the black veil was like a shield that is blocking him from something that he is unconfortable with. I think that it is used to represent a fear or a problem that he was trying to hide himself from.

MattN said...

LaurenC: I know we won't know for sure...but why do you think he did...like i believe it represents all of the sins in the town and he put it on to help take them himself and take the burden off of his people

AustinD said...

YES! I was actually going to mention how the veil almost seperates him from the people emotionally, making him invunurable (Vocab. Word) to people's emotions. It loweres him to the level of the people as well as provoking fear, making him an effective Puritan Preacher.

alexf said...

WhitneyS~
Ohhh, very nice, but which one? :) Oh, but what do you think about when one of the characters said that she had a feeling that the minister and the dead lady were walking hand in hand?

jordans said...

Matt~ I feel like the veil is a test to see who cares enough about him as a person and not as a minister to try and uncover who he is and “lift his veil”. Although I also think there could be a plethora of reasons why he wore his veil.

Laurenc said...

Matt - Sorry, I think I may have misinterpreted your last comment. My thoughts are that he originally put on the veil to repent for the towns sins but as it went on I believe he wanted to see how people treated him and see if he would ever be accepted again.

MattN said...

Chelsea~ That's interesting, because i think that he was helping out the towns people by making them find themselves without his help, they are discriminating against him and maybe that helps them find themselves

MattN said...

Jordan~ I totally agree...he is testing his towns people...and he realizes how bad they actually are! This is what makes him so mad any!d drives him craz

chelseas said...

Matt~ Oh I that's a good point. I hadn't have thought of that yet. That's interesting point that the town's people were trying to find themselves by descriminating against them. So do you think that this was the original intention when he put it on, or not?

jordans said...

Matt ~ exactly I think he realized his towns people are in a way incapable of thinking for themselves without a religious leader and that they can say all the things he teaches them but they can’t walk the walk.

amyw said...

I was gone today so here is my extended comment!
jordans---I really liked your last comment and I thought of this as well as I was reading the story. It really reminded me of the Crucible, actually. They went to church every Sunday and listened faithfully to the fiery sermons, but instead of focusing on God's kindness and whatnot they preyed on the social outcasts of their town and accused them of witchcraft. They couldn't really think without their religious leader (Parris) because it was so engrained into them to blindly follow him.

Also, one of the main themes of this story was resisting change---as soon as their minister started wearing the veil, the people were shocked and used him as their scapegoat. It's a commentary on how people get so set in their ways and concerned with what's "normal" that they almost get blinders on; they can't accept anyone who isn't like them and they have a hard time accepting change. Even though this story was written in the 1800s I think it holds true today. (This is another connection to the Crucible: using someone as a scapegoat because they're different from you.)

melissaz---I also agree about your comment on his faint smile. This smile revealed how much more wise he was than the people of the town; he obviously wouldn't be discriminatory to anyone who was different because he had purposely made himself different, if that makes any sense. That smile represented his discovery of big concepts of life that none of the townspeople had discovered yet. In a way, they were blind and it was them who really had metaphorical veils over their eyes; and he, who had a real veil over his face and eyes, could see perfectly. The veil and the faint smile tie together because they both separated him, emotionally and physically, from everyone else.

This story showed how people can react to even small differences---like a small piece of black crepe. Something so seemingly simple caused such complication and the people to ostracize him. It shows that simple things aren't always (and usually aren't) actually simple at all.

I also agree with everyone who said that by putting on the veil, he was taking on everyone's sins and things they had done wrong. He was being a martyr in a sense, taking their burdens on his shoulders. This reminds me of Bible teachings that say how if you lift up your burdens to God he will take them for you and help you along. The minister was almost taking on the role of God...