Dec 20 2011

A Note to the Reader:

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Dear Reader,

This blog is focused on my analysis of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “The Minister’s Black Veil.”  I created this page for my Literature Studies class at Queens College, so there are also some analysis’s of other pieces of literature from different assignments.

There are many different themes throughout “The Minister’s Black Veil,” some being sin, fear and how people act. All of these are very connected with the main theme, which is, ofcourse the minister’s black veil. This blog includes my interpretation of the idea of the Black Veil that Mr. Hooper is signifying and my interpretation of why the Minister wears the veil, based on details from the story.



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Dec 20 2011

“The Minister’s Black Veil” Summary

“The Minister’s Black Veil” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, was published in 1836 in The Token and Atlantic Souvenir, and begins with Mr. Hooper attending his mass wearing a black veil, and gives his sermon on secret sin, which scares many people. Everyone makes a big deal out of the veil while assuming reasons that they think the minister is wearing it. Most people think that the minister committed a terrible sin or that he is grieving (possibly over the death of a young girl that died the day before the minister began wearing the veil). The minister then attends another mass, a funeral and a wedding, still wearing the black crape across his face. This makes everyone very upset because they’d expected him to have removed it, and because they are constantly reminded of their sins. Although the minister does not see why everyone is treating him so badly and avoiding him, he makes an effort to cheer up the guests with a toast. After getting no response from his toast, he left the wedding in a rush.

Later in the story, the town clergymen finally have the idea to ask the minister why he’s wearing the veil but when they go to confront him, no one can bring themselves to ask. They then push the responsibility of asking on to deputies, who show up at Hooper’s house prepared to ask for a reason. However, when the minister greets them and let’s them in his house, no one can get the question out. They then return to the town’s people, Elizabeth included, with no answer. This really upsets Mr. Hooper’s fiancee, Elizabeth, because she doesn’t like the rumors that people are making up about the minister, so she goes right to Mr. Hooper and asks him to remove the veil and then tell her why he wore it. He refuses to remove it and tells her that he wears it as a symbol of the veils that everyone wears and as a type of mourning. He then tells her that he’s “bound” to wear it as long as he lives and that she can not come behind it. She replies by asking him to remove it again because she’s worried that people won’t believe that it’s a type of mourning. Elizabeth goes to leave and the minister pleads with her to stay. She then asks him to remove the veil just once, to which he refuses.  Elizabeth then slowly leaves, shuddering at the minister’s appearance as she left.

The minister never marries and continues wearing the veil for the rest of his life, often giving sermons on sin and guilt, which made many people upset and yet helped gain many followers for the minister. On Mr. Hooper’s death bed, Elizabeth shows up with many of the respectable clergymen. They then ask him to remove the veil that he donned his whole life, to which, of course, the minister refuses. Before passing away, he tells everyone in the room that they should not tremble at him for wearing the veil. He said that they should tremble at each other because they all wear veils.

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Dec 20 2011

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne (July 4th, 1804- May 19th, 1864)

Nathaniel Hawthorne was a novelist and short story writer, born in Salem, Massachusetts. He was known as a quiet man but knew many authors and was friends with the president Franklin Pierce since attending Bowdoin College. He married Sophia Peabody after publishing several short stories and a novel, and they had three children. Hawthorne based many of his stories off of his life events and often gave his stories themes and morals. Many of his works are dark romanticism and typically there are dark themes about sin, evil and guilt.

Fun facts on Hawthorne

**He was friends with Herman Melville, who dedicated Moby Dick to Hawthorne.

**Nathaniel Hawthorne was born Hathorne and later added the “w” to his name.

**He met Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; Longfellow wrote a tribute poem to Hawthorne in 1866 titled, “The Bells of Lynn.”

**An interesting coicidence (maybe): Hawthorne had originally pursued Sophia Peabody’s sister Elizabeth before meeting Sophia. Elizabeth was the name of Mr. Hooper’s fiancee, who left him when he refused her request that he take off the veil.

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Dec 08 2011

Growth and Structure in Rumplestiltskin

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Relationship between growth and structure:

Levi-Strauss says that “The function of repetition is to render the structure of the myth apparent.” Throughout the story, there is the repeating, growing theme of trading. One form is when Rumplestiltskin and the daughter make trades for physical items and they’re both happy with their deals. This is  Another form of trading that all of the characters, the miller, the king, the daughter and Rumplestiltskin, all take part in is making trades to make their lives better at another person’s cost.

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Nov 13 2011

Rumplestiltskin Analysis

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Self-centered Trades:

Miller lies to King about daughter
Daughter put in room with task

Manikin trades child for spun gold
Queens messenger sent for names

Manikin trades necklace for spun gold
Manikin trades ring for spun gold
Manikin makes new deal about guessing name

King Rejoices
Daughter/queen gives birth
Manikin rejoices by fire, dancing

King marries daughter
Manikin returns for child
Queen guesses incorrect names
Queen learns true name
Manikin splits self in two


A: Self-centered Trades

B: Deals

C: Happiness

D: Consequences

Grouping together the related events in Rumplestiltskin, I think the story is about different deals and the affects that they have on both parties. In my table, I think self-centered trades is to consequences (A:D as B:C) as Deals are to happiness. In the story, the daughter is forced into self-centered trades with the king because her father was selfish and wanted to seem important. The daughter is then forced to make trades with Rumplestiltskin for the gold, for the king, to save her life. When Rumplestiltskin trades with the daughter for the third time, he selfishly asks her to give him her first born child. In order for her to be happy/alive, she has to agree. When he comes back for the child, the queen has to be selfish and hire a messenger to help her find out Rumplestiltskin’s name so that she can keep her child. What I took from the story is that when there are completely selfish deals, there are consequences. For the king, he did what he wanted and still got everything he wanted at the cost of the daughter having to make deals for her life. Rumplestiltskin made fairly even deals with the daughter at first, but later made her trade her first child for the spun gold. This selfish request set him up for disappointment later, when he showed a soft spot and gave the queen a chance to save her child, which was his downfall and the Queen’s chance of happiness. Also, another theme in the story is that deals always make someone happy.

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Oct 26 2011

hover annotation

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Sep 21 2011

Web Wednesdays

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I really enjoyed today’s web Wednesday. I think it’s a great way to get the most out of our Wednesday classes because we can each give our thoughts on short stories without having to worry about running out of time. I did like the first class, but it took me a while to set up my blog and figure out how everything works. I also like these web Wednesdays because it is easy to look up definitions as you are reading a story. This makes it easier: “Respond carefully, critically, and sensitively to language, and identify and properly employ relevant literary terms, such as imagery, allusion, voice, tone, metaphor, meter, diction, figurative language, form, meter, and rhyme.”

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Sep 21 2011

Kaleidoscope by Ray Bradbury

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I asked my boyfriend what short stories were his favorites because he reads a lot. The first one that came to mind was Kaleidoscope by Ray Bradbury. I read Kaleidoscope first and then just about all the Bradbury stories I could find online. Reading others made it a hard choice but I just couldn’t stop thinking about Kaleidoscope.

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