Saturday, November 17, 2007

Drawn Darkly

Journal No. 4
English 48A
Dr. Scott Lankford
Author I chose: Nathaniel Hawthorne

I. "Even amid his grief, Mr. Hooper smiled to think that only a material emblem had separated him from happiness, though the horrors which it shadowed forth, must be drawn darkly between the fondest of lovers."

II. Mr. Hooper understands (and even expects) that the veil will offer an opportunity for even those who are closest to turn on him in judgment.

III. Though Mr. Hooper is expecting Elizabeth to stand by his decision, he believes deep down that she too will leave him. He has chosen to believe in something that is out of the ordinary and uncomfortable for most people. The mystery that many of his parishioners have turned away from is the same mystery which has Hawthorne's readers turning pages for more. We, too, want to know what is "wrong" with Mr. Hooper. What did he do to pledge the rest of his life to secrecy and devotion so strong that he can not share even with the woman whom he loves? It is implied that he must have sinned. He could be repenting these sins by wearing the veil as a commitment to God. It is also possible that he could be hiding from his sins. Had he murdered someone, he might be grieving not only the loss of that person but also hiding away so that the rest of the world will never see the guilt in his face. He could also be hiding away to prove the sins of others around him. Is he really committed to making such a point that he has intentionally isolated himself from society for the rest of his life? These are just a few of the theories as to why Mr. Hooper is leading a lonely, defiant life. This is why this story works so well. The ominous intention of the veil is to not reveal but instead to present even more questions. Why?


drscottie said...

20/20 Don't you just love that old cracked and faded daggeuerotype of Hawthorne (veiled by time and those evil hooded eyes of his)