Although the better-known The Scarlet Letter (1850) still draws more attention from many high school English teachers, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s darkly enigmatic short story “The Minister’s Black Veil” (1836) touches on similar themes and provides readers with diverse avenues for exploration, discussion, and analysis. Containing dramatic, psychological, and moral elements, in addition to its literary ones, it is a complex text that can confound teachers and students alike with its range of interpretations and ambiguity. This lesson allows students in small groups to choose and focus on one interpretive element. It also accommodates different learning styles, offering both creative and analytical options.
This lesson should take about two class periods.
Kotlarczyk, Adam, "Hawthorne’s “The Minister’s Black Veil”: Group Activities and Interpretations" (2013). The Short Story. 1.