Copies of The Minister's Black Veil by Nathaniel Hawthorne, copies of "The Minister's Black Veil Text Analysis," pens, pencils, and paper.

Objectives (based on the North Carolina Standard Course of Study):

  • The student will reflect and respond expressively to texts so that the audience will:
    • discover multiple perspectives.
    • investigate connections between life and literature.
    • explore how the student's life experiences influence his or her response to the selection.
    • recognize how the responses of others may be different.
    • articulate insightful connections between life and literature.
    • consider cultural or historical significance.
  • The student will demonstrate the ability to read, listen to and view a variety of increasingly complex print and non-print expressive texts appropriate to grade level and course literary focus, by:
    • providing textual evidence to support understanding of and reader's response to text.
    • demonstrating comprehension of main idea and supporting details.
    • summarizing key events and/or points from text.
    • making inferences, predicting, and drawing conclusions based on text.
    • identifying and analyzing personal, social, historical or cultural influences, contexts, or biases.
    • making connections between works, self and related topics

1. Ask students to free write about the following questions: “How would you feel if you couldn’t ever show your face to anyone? How would you feel if a classmate could not show his or her face? Do you think you could ignore this? If not, how would you react??
2. Ask volunteers to share their responses. The responses may count for participation, kept in journals or turned in for a grade.
3. Introduce “The Minister’s Black Veil” to students by explaining that the main character in the story wore a mysterious black veil that he never removed. This caused serious suspicions in his community.
4. Give a brief background of Nathaniel Hawthorne, emphasizing that:

  • Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts in 1804.
  • His most well known work is The Scarlet Letter, about a woman condemned to wear a red “A” because she committed adultery.
  • Hawthorne had a strong relationship with other famous writers of his era, particularly Herman Melville. If your class is interested in poetry, you could read and discuss Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s memorial poem, “Hawthorne” for enrichment.
  • Hawthorne wrote The Minister’s Black Veil in 1836 as part of a volume of work entitled Twice-Told Tales. (Information compiled from “Nathaniel Hawthorne,”
5. Read The Minister’s Black Veil as a class, in groups, or silently, asking students to complete the accompanying textual analysis.
6. Review answers to the textual analysis or ask students to submit for homework.
7. Ask students to complete a one-page essay for homework to elaborate on the answer to Question 14 in the Textual Analysis: Can you think of any current events that involve the same kind of superstition and judgment expressed in this story? Describe them.



The Textual Analysis and short essay can be graded for accuracy and form.

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