What Narrative Point of View Is Used in "The Minister's Black Veil?"

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In "The Minister's Black Veil," Hawthorne explores the nature of sin, a theme common to his work. The Reverend Mr. Hooper begins wearing a semi-transparent black veil that covers his whole face except for his mouth and chin, which causes anxiety and dread in the townspeople, who are forced to confront the symbolism of the veil. By telling the story through the third-person omniscient point of view, Hawthorne is able to create distance from the characters to transform the story into a parable.

Effect of Point of View

Through the third-person omniscient point of view, Hawthorne was able to provide a glimpse into the thoughts of each of the characters without aligning the reader too closely with any of them. The story doesn't dwell on the interior thoughts or motivations of the characters. By creating this narrative distance, the characters are transformed into symbols or universal types. For example, the townspeople are representative of all of humanity, who must confront their own sin and take responsibility for their salvation. The Reverend Mr. Hooper is a reminder of that sin and the judgment that is to come.