The Veil of the Minister and Goodman Brown Nathaniel Hawthorne's short stories

Essay by thegameUniversity, Bachelor's December 2003

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"The Minister's Black Veil" and "Young Goodman Brown" are two stories that are thick with allegory.

"Young Goodman Brown" is a moral story, which is told through the perversion of a common townsperson. In "Young Goodman Brown," Goodman Brown is a Puritan who lets his excessive pride in himself interferes with his relations with the community after he meets with the devil and causes him to live the life of an exile in his own community. "The Minister's Black Veil" is also a moral story that is told through the perversion of a Puritan religious leader. In "The Minister's Black Veil," Parson Hooper is abashed of his own sin and attempts to disguise his sin with a black veil. In an ironic way, Parson Hooper and Goodman Brown are both wearing a veil of guilt to cover up their own sins. This veil later becomes the main symbol of guilt, excessive pride, and hidden sins.

What exactly is guilt? Guilt is remorseful awareness of having done something wrong. Goodman Brown and Parson Hooper are two men that are guilty of some type of wrong behavior. Their guilt arrives from an act of sin. "Young Goodman Brown" begins when Faith, Brown's wife, asks him not to go out on an errand to meet the devil. This errand later becomes the center of his guilt. Goodman Brown's guilt is carried around with him like an invisible veil that will never uncover him. In the same way, Parson Hooper has a veil that covers part of his face to hide his face from his congregation because of how guilty he feels. When Goodman Brown finally meets with the devil, he declares that the reason he is late is because "Faith kept me back awhile". This statement has a double...