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The reasons for the minister's actions and their implications are never fully explained, leaving readers to ponder Hawthorne's meaning.
This minister, as a youth, had accidentally killed a close friend.
From that day until his death, he had hidden his face with a veil.
“Young Goodman Brown” (1835), which was followed by “The Minister’s Black Veil,” observes the nature of temptation and its aftermath of isolation.
Then came Hawthorne’s classic masterpiece, (1850), which explores the effects of sin on four individuals.
In “Ethan Brand” (1851), he examines unpardonable sin.
Hawthorne, an allegorical writer on a quest for spiritual meaning, models his writing after John Bunyan and Edmund Spenser.
On the basis of his efforts in such early stories as "The Minister's Black Veil," which was singled out by critics, Hawthorne earned critical praise and began to establish himself as an American author of repute.
Known for its ambiguous and dark tone, the story recounts the tale of a minister so consumed with human sin and duplicity that he dons a veil to hide his face and manifest the spiritual veils that all humans wear.
Nathaniel Hawthorne is considered by many a towering figure of American literary history.
His works include children’s stories, nonfiction sketches, a presidential campaign biography of Franklin Pierce, four major novels, and essays.