Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Minister’s Black Veil. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
- Full Title: The Minister’s Black Veil
- When Written: 1836
- Where Written: Beacon Hill, Boston
- When Published: 1836
- Literary Period: American Romanticism
- Genre: Short story; parable
- Setting: Milford, a Puritan town in Massachusetts
- Climax: Reverend Hooper revealing why he wore the veil on his deathbed
- Antagonist: The townspeople of Milford
- Point of View: Third person
Family connections. Hawthorne was born Nathaniel Hathorne, a descendant of John Hathorne, the Puritan judge who ordered the execution of the “witches” at the Salem Witch Trials (he shows up in The Crucible). Hawthorne was so ashamed of his ancestry that he changed his name, adding the “w”.
Powerful friends. Hawthorne was a close friend of Franklin Pierce, the 14th president of the United States, and even wrote a short biography of him. In Boston, Hawthorne was neighbors with Ralph Waldo Emerson, the influential essayist and poet — unfortunately for history, Hawthorne was so shy that the two literary giants almost never spoke to one another!