The Spirituality and Psychology of Nathaniel Hawthornes Short Stories

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Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) is one of the most well-known and prolific American writers of all-time. During his lifetime, he produced several novels and numerous short stories.


Even a rapid examination of Hawthorne’s work provides examples of each of these, and his short stories offer quick snapshots of the different aspects of romanticism. This paper will examine, specifically, “The Minister’s Black Veil,” “The Birth-mark,” and “The Haunted Mind. Each of these stories evidences spiritual themes and psychological themes, in particular, the conflict between lightness and darkness – illumination and confusion. The spiritual themes in “The Minister’s Black Veil: A Parable” are not difficult to see. The story’s protagonist is a member of the clergy – the most respected religious leader in the town. The town is thrown into an uproar, however, when the minister suddenly appears one morning with a black veil covering his face. It was immediately assumed by his congregation that the minister was trying to hide some:
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 (Hawthorne 373). ...
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