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Word Count: 811
Unconfessed sin and guilt can fester in the body and soul In the setting of Puritan society the themes of sin and guilt present themselves in the novel The Scarlet Letter and in the short story The Ministers Black Veil In these two literary works Nathaniel Hawthorne and a few critics express similar and different perspectives of the depiction of sin and guilt In The Ministers Black Veil Reverend Hooper realizes that all men are secret sinners they hide their guilt and sorrow away from even their closest relations Mr Hooper acknowledges that he too belongs to the stained tribe by donning a black veil Symbolic of this buried shame he wears the veil at all times Proving this point Hoopers congregation upon first sight of the veil felt as if the preacher had crept upon them behind his awful veil and discovered their hoarded iniquity of deed or thought Hawthorne Minister 267 Wearing the veil precipitates a dramatic change in the Reverends relationship with his congregation His parishioners no longer accept him as they did before the advent of the veil The veil which so distinguishes him from his fellow villagers strikes fear in the hearts of all and causes them to dread his approach and to withdraw their friendship and companionship from him Reed 1503 Whatever his sin or whatever his sorrow by the act of wearing the veil he openly admits his own kinship to the family of sinners Then he has to deal with the consequences ostracism loneliness ridicule and fear Although Mr Hooper maintains that the veil merely symbolizes those failings common to all humanity the townspeople do not know what to make of it Some townspeople see the veil as an eccentricity but gradually the fear develops that Mr Hoopers conscience tortured him for some great crime too horrible to be entirely concealed Hawthorne Minister 271 However in contrast to his now empty personal
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