This list of important quotations from “The Minister's Black Veil” by Nathaniel Hawthorne will help you work with the essay topics and thesis statements by allowing you to support your claims. All of the important quotes listed here correspond, at least in some way, to the paper topics and by themselves can give you great ideas for an essay by offering quotes and explanations about other themes, symbols, imagery, and motifs than those already mentioned and explained. Aside from the thesis statements, these quotes alone can act as essay questions or study questions as they are all relevant to the text in an important way. All quotes contain page numbers as well; these are from the Norton Anthology of American Literature. If you'd like a summary and analysis of The Minister's Black Veil first, here is a great one for you.
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“a gentlemanly person of about thirty, though still a bachelordressed with clerical neatness, as if a careful wife had starched his band and brushed the weekly dust from his Sunday's garb” (1253).
“He has changed himself into something awful, only by hiding his face” (1253)
“he had the reputation of a good preacher, but not an energetic one: he strove to win his people heavenward by mild persuasive influence rather than to drive them thither” (1254)
“A person who watched the interview between the dead and living scrupled not to affirm that, at the instant when the clergyman's features were disclosed [as he leaned over her and the veil moved] the corpse had slightly shuddered, rustling the shroud” (1255).
“the minister and maiden's spirit were walking hand in hand” (1255).
“There is an hour to comewhen all of us shall cast aside our veils” (1257).
“in this manner Mr. Hooper spent a long life, irreproachable in outward act, yet shrouded in dismal suspicions; kind and loving, though unloved, and dimly feared; a man apart from men” (1259).
(Westerbury to the Minister) “Dark old man! With what horrible crime upon your soul are you now passing to the judgment?” (1261).
“The subject had reference to secret sin, and those sad mysteries which we hide from our nearest and dearest, and would fain conceal from our own consciousness, even forgetting that the Omniscient can detect them” (1254).
(Elizabeth) “Beloved and respected as you are, there may be whispers, that you hide your face under the consciousness of secret sin. For the sake of your holy office, do away this scandal!” (1257).
“Its [the veil's] gloom, indeed, enabled him to sympathize with all dark affections. Dying sinners cried aloud for Mr. Hooper, and would not yield their breath till he appeared; though ever, as he stooped to whisper consolation, they shuddered at the veiled face so near their own” (1259).
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* An Important Note * As with many other works by Nathaniel Hawthorne, many of the themes in different works remain consistent. This story can be easily compared to (most especially) Young Goodman Brown. as well as to other stories that involve themes of evil, sin, and other motifs such as “Rappaccini's Daughter” and “The Birthmark”” Although this is a departure in terms of setting, if you're writing a comparison essay on “The Minister's Black Veil” using other works by Hawthorne should be simple. There are PaperStarter entries for all of these. *