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Lesson Plan by Christina Bouwens M.A.

The Minister's Black Veil by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Pixton Lesson Plan on The Minister's Black Veil by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Make American Romantic literature come to life with comics!

Including these awesome activities:
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Featured Layouts

When students complete the activities in this lesson plan, they will use the following comic layout types.

  • Comic Strip
  • Storyboard
  • Graphic Novel
  • Mind Map
  • Plot Diagram
  • Timeline
  • Photo Story
  • Character Map

Your students will create amazing images like these in no time!

This free, printable Pixton lesson plan brings American Romantic literature to life with comics and storyboards.
This free, printable Pixton lesson plan brings American Romantic literature to life with comics and storyboards.
This free, printable Pixton lesson plan brings American Romantic literature to life with comics and storyboards.

Featured Props

The Minister's Black Veil by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Student creations come alive with these themed objects – in addition to our library of over 3,000 props!

  • Bed
    Bed
  • Bench
    Bench
  • Book
    Book
  • Casket
    Casket
  • Church
    Church
  • House
    House
  • Podium
    Podium
  • Prop Wedding Arch
    Prop Wedding Arch
  • Skyline
    Skyline
  • Table
    Table
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Teacher Guide

The Minister's Black Veil by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Step 1Class discussion with students

Getting Started

Invite students to discuss with a partner/small group to any of the following prompts:

  1. Do you have a favorite thing or things at home, on your person or in your locker? What do you number among these and why?
  2. Have you ever hidden something from friends or family? In other words, have you experienced shame? If you feel comfortable discussing it now, please do so.
  3. What do you think we mean as a society by the term "sin"? Do you think most people are in agreement about this meaning? Why/how (examples)?

Regroup the class: ask for responses to each of the above three (3) questions. Remember: there are no "right" or "wrong" answers here -- the goal is to tap into students pre-conceived notions as well as their personal connections to the topic(s).

Opening Discussion

Invite students to write a journal / Google doc response to the following:

  1. Think about that favorite item from our opening activity: how would you feel if you lost it, it broke or someone stole it? Which emotions surface?
  2. What was the feeling you had if/when you've ever hidden something from family &/or friends? If you haven't, what would you imagine it to feel like?
  3. What kinds of conflicts might it cause if groups of people understand or perceive the idea of "sin" differently? Provide any example(s) you can identify.

Introduce "The Minister's Black Veil" by sharing any/all of the following:

  • This short story will deal with each of the prompts in its own unique way, and may cause you to rethink your responses.
  • This short story was written in the 1830s, in a very different American landscape. Let's learn more about Nathaniel Hawthorne here.
  • The literary genre in which this story fits is that of American Romanticism: let's learn more about this unique genre here and about Dark Romantic Writing here.
  • Possibly add a brief Prezi.

Keep in mind the following as we read:

  • Hawthorne's tone or attitude toward his subject matter
  • What aspects of American Romanticism arise in the story
  • The perspective on "sin" this tale takes
  • What things seem to be coveted by the community or any character(s) in particular
Step 2Pixton comic-making activities
Step 3Concluding discussion with students

Would you have made a similar choice as Minister/Father Hooper does in this story?

  • In other words, do you think you could be compelled to hold so close to an idea or an object as he has done, despite everyone else's refusal to accept or understand it? Why/why not? Would it depend on the idea/object? How/how not?

  • What might we learn from Minister Hooper as a character -- positively or negatively?
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Pixton Activity: The Minister's Black Veil 1 Plot Analysis

Featured Layouts

  • Comic Strip
  • Storyboard
  • Graphic Novel
  • Mind Map
  • Plot Diagram
  • Timeline

Intro

The narrative or storyline of a text is it's plot. The plot is essentially the development of a story's conflict, which will be one of two types:

  • Internal Conflict: a main character struggles with something inside him or herself (character vs. self)

  • External Conflict: a main character struggles with someone/something else, taking any one of the following forms~
    • character vs. character
    • character vs. God/Supernatural
    • character vs. nature
    • character vs. technology

The plot is the development of the conflict throughout a narrative, navigating the following stages (not always in a linear fashion):

  1. Exposition: main characters, conflict, and setting (time & place) are presented.
  2. Rising Action Events: actions or events which build or complicate the conflict.
  3. Climax (Climactic Event): the turning point event or action of a narrative. The climax will typically function as the highest point of suspense/tension in the plot.
  4. Falling Action Events: actions/events navigating from the climax toward a conflict resolution.
  5. Resolution (also referred to as Denouement): how the conflict is resolved. In other words, is there a positive or a negative outcome for the main character? Who/what wins?

Instructions

Once you've read the short story, complete the following visual activity~

Identify each of the following in one of the specified formats:

  1. What the Main Conflict of the story seems to be:

    • Internal or External Conflict?
    • Character vs. ...?
  2. Setting (Time & Place) + the conflict clearly identifying the "characters" -- protagonist and antagonist.

  3. At least 2 Rising Action events

  4. The Climax

  5. At least 1 Falling Action event

  6. The Resolution

Rubric: Plot Analysis

Use this interactive rubric for easy, thorough assessment. It can even be used by students for self-assessment!

5 4 3 2 1
Overview Each panel is detailed with accurate content and fully responds to the prompts, along with a corresponding image; relevant details and quotations are selected to support each plot point. Each panel has accurate content appropriate to the prompts, along with corresponding images; relevant details & quotations are selected to support each plot point. Each panel has content mostly appropriate to the prompts, and corresponding images; details from the story seem relevant and utilized to support each plot point but not a strong or compelling use of quotations. One or more panels missing appropriate content and/or corresponding images; details/quotations from the story not entirely relevant and/or included for each plot point. Some panels missing content and/or corresponding images; details and story quotations sporadically included and/or not relevant to plot points.
Meaning Ideas, information and use of appropriate textual detail • strong point of view
• develops ideas clearly and logically with details, examples, and descriptions
• relevant ideas with consistent analysis
• logical descriptions or examples clarify and develop the ideas
• relevant ideas with some analysis
• examples or descriptions are simple and consistent
• few relevant ideas
• examples or descriptions may be poorly developed or illogical
• ideas are not developed
• few details or descriptions
Style Clarity, variety, impact of visuals and language • language is clear, varied
• flows smoothly; variety in sentences
• images and characters are fully developed; high attention to detail
• language is clear with some variety
• includes a variety of sentence lengths and patterns
• images and characters have purpose and significance
• language is clear with little variety
• basic sentence structures with a few variations
• images and characters are basic, but have purpose
• basic language; vague at times
• repeats a few basic sentence structures
• images and characters have minimal development
• vague, incorrect and repetitive language
• poorly constructed sentences; little variety
• images and characters are poorly developed
Form Organization and sequence (supporting examples identified) • proper organization
• text/details are properly referenced
• panels are thoughtful and detailed, fully addressing required content
• all panels are organized or logical
• text/details are properly referenced
• all panels are present and detailed
• most panels are organized or logical
• text/details are properly referenced
• all necessary panels are present
• some panels are organized or logical
• text/details are not/improperly referenced
• minimal use of panels &/or some panels appear to be missing
• panels are disorganized or illogical (flow doesn't work)
• text/details are not referenced
• panels do not seem to be targeting required content
Conventions The text demonstrates standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses eloquent words, rich sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses precise words, controlled sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates standard English conventions
• uses words and phrases, telling details and sensory language to convey a vivid picture
• demonstrates some accuracy in standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • contains multiple inaccuracies in Standard English conventions of usage and mechanics
Total

Example Plot Diagram

"The Minister's Black Veil" Plot by Student
ExpositionAs the "Parable" opens, we see a sexton on the porch of a church (Milford meeting-house), a "throng" of church goers gathering together. The story is set, then, in what appears to be a relatively small town during the time of Hawthorne's life.

Place: Small town East Coast, U.S.
Time: 1830s
Main character: Minister Hooper
Main ConflictThe conflict of this short story appears to be that of Minister Hooper vs. his congregation and the town at large. Thus, an external conflict of:

Character vs. Society

This is due to the townspeople being not only mystified but deeply bothered (horrified, even)
Rising ActionRising Action Event: Minister Hooper refuses to remove his veil, much to the chagrin of his parsonage, and oversees a morning funeral -- his veil seeming rather fitting to the scene of mourning and bleakness.

Rising Action Event: Minister Hooper refuses to remove his black veil during a wedding, over which he presides. It is described as the ceremony for "the handsomest couple in Milford village." The bride is grotesquely bothered by the "horrible black veil," causing the congregation to believe this faintly pale bride is the young lady the minister just helped bury that morning!

Rising Action Event: Minister Hoopers girlfriend, Elizabeth, begs her beloved to remove the veil and allow her "in." When he refuses, she realizes he will not budge and eventually leaves him.

Rising Action Event: Minister Hooper stops taking his solitary walks, as "others would make it a point of hardihood to throw themselves in his way." He is even more isolated and alone, as the townspeople cannot put their finger on why this black veil bothers them so much: they simply want it gone, and their "normal minister" back.
ClimaxThe climactic moment is when upon his deathbed, Minister Hooper refuses to remove the black veil which has plagued all the village from the start. Indeed, he finally addresses why he's worn it in the first place, using his dying breath to utter the following to those surrounding him:

"Why do you tremble at me alone? . . . . Tremble also at each other! Have men avoided me, and women shown no pity, and children screamed and fled, only for my black veil? What, but the mystery which it obscurely typifies, has made this piece of crape so awful? When the friend shows his inmost heart to his friend; the lover to his best beloved; when man does not vainly shrink from the eye of his Creator, loathsomely trasuring up the secret of his sin; then deem me a monster, for the symbol beneath which I have lived, and die! I look around me, and, lo! on every visage a Black Veil!"
Falling ActionFalling Event Action: Father/Minister Hooper dies.

Falling Action Event: Those listening shrink from the words they've just experienced.

Falling Action Event: They place the minister in his coffin, with the black veil upon his face.
DenouementThe resolution to the original conflict of the story is that the minister is no longer in conflict with the townspeople, as he finally spoke his truth at the very end and they learned (too late) to accept his adamance at keeping the veil upon his visage. The burial stone is now "moss-grown" and while his person has turned to dust, the villagers yet wonder whether the veil survives in the ground. No one will ever know, but now Minister/Father Hooper is at peace, as it seems the town of Milford also is.

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Student Handout

Share this comic with your students to demonstrate the activity without giving away the farm :)

Conflict and Plot in “Cinderella” by Pixton
ExpositionCinderella lives a humble life with her father, and is very happy. However, soon after taking a new wife, Cinderella's father passes away. Main ConflictWith her new husband now deceased, Lady Tremaine and her two daughters take over the house. Rather than welcoming Cinderella into the family, they make her a servant and treat her cruelly. Rising ActionThe Prince, looking to get married, announces there will be a ball for all the ladies in the kingdom to attend. Cinderella plans to go but her stepsisters ruin her dress. As she sits in tears, her fairy godmother appears and gives her everything she needs for a grand experience at the ball. But there is a catch; at midnight, everything will return to how it was before. ClimaxCinderella enters the ballroom and immediately catches Prince Charming's eye. After a night of dancing, the two are in love. Cinderella loses track of time, however, and when the clock strikes midnight, she flees from the ball. Prince Charming is left with nothing but her glass slipper. Falling ActionThe prince is determined to find the mysterious woman from the ball. He sends his men to visit every household in the kingdom and have them try on the glass slipper. The woman whom the shoe fits will be the new princess. DenouementAt last, Cinderella gets a chance to try on the glass slipper and it fits perfectly. Prince Charming knows she is the one he fell in love with at the ball. He rescues her from her wicked stepfamily and they live happily ever after.
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Pixton Activity: The Minister's Black Veil 2 Symbolism

Featured Layouts

  • Comic Strip
  • Storyboard
  • Graphic Novel
  • Mind Map
  • Photo Story

Intro

Symbolism allows us into a writer's mind to better grasp how he or she views the world.

  • A symbol is a word, gesture, object, or visual image representing a particular idea or belief -- something far more significant than just what it literally is.

  • The object, visual, gesture, etc. typically conveys a deeper meaning than its surface or literal meaning. To develop symbolism in a text, the author employs a variety of literary devices, such as similes and metaphors.

  • The use of symbols further develops a plot's characters and theme.

Instructions

  1. Identify at least two (2) symbols in the short story "The Minister's Black Veil."

  2. Demonstrate what these symbols look like with fully depicting a scene from the story in which the symbols present; include the relevant character(s) and setting(s).

  3. Include direct quotations from the Hawthorne story to identify the passages in which the symbols develop significant meaning.

  4. Explicate the meaning of the symbols: in other words, analyze what the purpose might be for Hawthorne to utilize such symbolism in this text, and how the symbol represents more than its literal meaning.

Rubric: Symbolism

Use this interactive rubric for easy, thorough assessment. It can even be used by students for self-assessment!

5 4 3 2 1
Overview At least 2 clear examples of symbolism are accurately identified and highly explicated from the story; relevant details are selected to evaluate the impact of the significance of the symbols throughout the work. 2 clear examples of symbolism are accurately identified and highly explicated from the story; relevant details and quotations are selected to evaluate the impact of the use of the symbols throughout the work. 2 examples of symbolism are accurately identified and somewhat explicated from the story; relevant details/quotations are selected to evaluate the impact of the use of these symbols throughout the work. Fewer than 2 symbols are identified and explicated from the story; relevant details/quotations selected to somewhat evaluate the impact of the story's symbolism. Fewer than 2 symbols are identified and undeveloped from the story; relevant details or quotations are not clearly selected nor evaluated to analyze the story's symbolism.
Meaning Ideas, information and use of appropriate textual detail • strong point of view
• develops ideas clearly and logically with details, examples, and descriptions
• relevant ideas with consistent analysis
• logical descriptions or examples clarify and develop the ideas
• relevant ideas with some analysis
• examples or descriptions are simple and consistent
• few relevant ideas
• examples or descriptions may be poorly developed or illogical
• ideas are not developed
• few details or descriptions
Style Clarity, variety, impact of visuals and language • language is clear, varied
• flows smoothly; variety in sentences
• images and characters are fully developed; high attention to detail
• language is clear with some variety
• includes a variety of sentence lengths and patterns
• images and characters have purpose and significance
• language is clear with little variety
• basic sentence structures with a few variations
• images and characters are basic, but have purpose
• basic language; vague at times
• repeats a few basic sentence structures
• images and characters have minimal development
• vague, incorrect and repetitive language
• poorly constructed sentences; little variety
• images and characters are poorly developed
Form Organization and sequence (supporting examples identified) • proper organization
• text/details are properly referenced
• panels are thoughtful and detailed, fully illustrating each example of imagery
• all panels are organized or logical
• text/details are properly referenced
• all panels are present and detailed
• most panels are organized or logical
• text/details are properly referenced
• all necessary panels are present
• some panels are organized or logical
• text/details are not/improperly referenced
• minimal use of panels &/or some panels appear to be missing
• panels are disorganized or illogical (flow doesn't work)
• text/details are not referenced
• panels do not appear to fully illustrate imagery examples
Conventions The text demonstrates standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses eloquent words, rich sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses precise words, controlled sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates standard English conventions
• uses words and phrases, telling details and sensory language to convey a vivid picture
• demonstrates some accuracy in standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • contains multiple inaccuracies in Standard English conventions of usage and mechanics
Total

Example Mind Map

"The Minister's Black Veil" by Student
Mind MapSymbolism The VeilThe Minister wears his black veil every day, from the moment this story opens and all notice a change about Minister Hooper. This veil covers a significant portion of his face, notably his mouth. It becomes difficult to tell if the Minister is smiling -- which, increasingly, he does not do much of as he becomes a more introverted, soul-seeking and reflective practitioner. The veil is a signifier of those things that are hidden from others, and in particular of "secret sin." Morning FuneralThe morning funeral signifies the loss of life of a young woman and centers the town in grief. It is the minister's veil which seems to provide some comfort in this heartbreaking scene. The morning funeral symbolizes that death can find us at any time, in any place, and that we must be ready each day to get up and live our lives to the best of our abilities, in the most decent and honorable ways possible. In this scene, the villagers "trembled, though they but darkly understood [Minister Hooper] when he prayed that they, and himself, and all of mortal race, might be ready, as he trusted this young maiden had been, for the dreadful hour that should snatch the veil from their faces." The funeral first thing in the day signifies the readiness and the beauty in living that we all must present for the next funeral could be right around the corner. Afternoon WeddingAt the afternoon wedding, the veil causes quite a commotion. Rather than being a happy event of blissful celebration, the bride looks faint and the groom is concerned while the other wedding attendees are horrified at the minister's veil. This afternoon wedding symbolizes the notion that while the morning held a funeral, we always have renewed hope that we can make a day whatever we want it to be. It is the townspeople's refusal to accept the minister's decision to don the veil the causes them grief; they do it to themselves. Rather than choosing happiness and looking forward in celebration of a wedding, then, they ruin their own opportunities to move forward with their day, their lives. Significance of SymbolsThis short story operates on an allegorical level, utilizing the symbols and the black veil in particular to drive home the notion of shame and living authentically. The wedding, funeral, and the veil all culminate to instruct us in living rightly, hiding nothing from the world in terms of who we are and what we stand for. Hawthorne seemed quite focused on presenting this meditative message, as his minister greets his own funeral in the end with a refusal to be something other than the is, and to welcome others to greet and know their own "secret sin."

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Pixton Activity: The Minister's Black Veil 3 Character Mapping

Featured Layouts

  • Character Map

Intro

Have you finished Hawthorne's short story "The Minister's Black Veil"?

If yes, let's begin!

Character mapping allows us to further engage with a literary figure, to "view" him with a different, more in-depth focus as we analyze internal and external characteristics.

External Characteristics: the character's appearance

Internal Characteristics: the character's thoughts &/or emotions which lead to his behaviors

Instructions

Analyze our story's protagonist, the title character of Mr. Hooper.

Draw from specific sections of the story and share quotations to address the various sections of our character map:

  1. External Characteristics / Physical Appearance (as many as possible, or a minimum of 2)

  2. Personality Traits (how does Minister Hooper behave? Provide specific details)

  3. Relations to Others (identify at least 4 descriptors &/or facts)

  4. Important Quotes (minimum of 2)

Rubric: Character Mapping

Use this interactive rubric for easy, thorough assessment. It can even be used by students for self-assessment!

5 4 3 2 1
Overview Each panel is detailed with accurate content and fully responds to the prompts, along with an image that corresponds well to the character as he is developed upon from the story; relevant details are selected to support each quotation. Each panel has accurate content and responds well to the prompts, along with an image that corresponds to the Minister's character as developed upon from the story; relevant details are selected to support each quotation. Each panel has content which seems to adequately address the prompts. An image is provided with little detail to the story's Minister; details are somewhat unclear for the quotations as textual support. Each panel has content which minimally addresses the prompts. An image is provided but lacks detail to the character or setting; details are lacking or are unclear for the quotations as textual support. One or more panels is missing appropriate content, or each very minimally addresses the prompts. An image is provided with little to no detail (character or setting); textual support is minimal or missing in each of the quotations.
Meaning Ideas, information and use of appropriate textual detail • strong point of view
• develops ideas clearly and logically with details, examples, and descriptions
• relevant ideas with consistent analysis
• logical descriptions or examples clarify and develop the ideas
• relevant ideas with some analysis
• examples or descriptions are simple and consistent
• few relevant ideas
• examples or descriptions may be poorly developed or illogical
• ideas are not developed
• few details or descriptions
Style Clarity, variety, impact of visuals and language • language is clear, varied
• flows smoothly; variety in sentences
• images and characters are fully developed; high attention to detail
• language is clear with some variety
• includes a variety of sentence lengths and patterns
• images and characters have purpose and significance
• language is clear with little variety
• basic sentence structures with a few variations
• images and characters are basic, but have purpose
• basic language; vague at times
• repeats a few basic sentence structures
• images and characters have minimal development
• vague, incorrect and repetitive language
• poorly constructed sentences; little variety
• images and characters are poorly developed
Form Organization and sequence (supporting examples identified) • proper organization
• text/details are properly referenced
• panels are thoughtful and detailed, fully addressing required content
• all panels are organized or logical
• text/details are properly referenced
• all panels are present and detailed
• most panels are organized or logical
• text/details are properly referenced
• all necessary panels are present
• some panels are organized or logical
• text/details are not/improperly referenced
• minimal use of panels &/or some panels appear to be missing
• panels are disorganized or illogical (flow doesn't work)
• text/details are not referenced
• panels do not seem to be targeting required content
Conventions The text demonstrates standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses eloquent words, rich sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates precise English conventions
• uses precise words, controlled sensory language and mood to convey a realistic picture
• demonstrates standard English conventions
• uses words and phrases, telling details and sensory language to convey a vivid picture
• demonstrates some accuracy in standard English conventions of usage and mechanics • contains multiple inaccuracies in Standard English conventions of usage and mechanics
Total

Example Character Map

Minister Hooper in "The Minister's Black Veil" by Student
Physical AppearanceMinister Hooper is described as a "gentlemanly person, of about thirty," who dresses with "due clerical neatness, as if a careful wife had starched his band" though we know him to be a bachelor.

Additionally, he walks with a "slow and quiet pace, stooping somewhat" and is identified as "not an energetic" preacher with a "melancholy voice."

Finally, Minister Hooper is described as possessing a "sad smile" beneath the veil at all times coupled with his mildness of temperament.
Personality TraitsMinister Hooper has a "mildness" of temperament, indicating he does not give in to emotion very readily and is rather even-keeled at all times. He is a "very efficient clergyman" in the eyes of the town.

He is a conscientious, determined preacher who -- once he has decided to don the black veil -- refuses to cave to the wishes and demands of those he serves, even the one he loves (Elizabeth).

Minister Hooper is reserved, quiet yet with a "gentle gloom." Underneath the black veil, others perceive: "there rolled a cloud into the sunshine, an ambiguity of sin or sorrow, which enveloped the poor minister, so that love or sympathy could never reach him." Thus, Minister Hooper is very much alone and while he may not be particularly happy, he is content to perform his duties as a preacher to the best of his abilities: presiding over funerals, weddings, and he "became a man of awful power over souls that were in agony for sin."
Relations to OthersMinister Hooper makes the determination on his own -- away from prying eyes, ears, or even the readers' knowledge -- to don the black veil for the rest of his days.

His refusal to remove it despite the massive, nearly complete outcry against it is remarkable.

He presides over a funeral, a wedding, and his Sunday sermons as he seems to have done before and eventually becomes a more "efficient clergyman" with the veil.

His adamant refusal to remove the veil costs him his relationship with Elizabeth -- at least for a time, as we know she returns to tend him at his deathbed.

Minister Hooper only speaks out against the others and for the cause of "secret sin" as his dying words, causing "mutual affright." He is buried in the black veil.
Important QuotationsMinister Hooper's quiet, diligent convictions are clear when he responds to his beloved's plea to take off the veil: "No mortal eye will see it withdrawn. This dismal shade must separate me from the world: even you, Elizabeth, can never come behind it. . . . "I, perhaps, like most other mortals, have sorrows dark enough to be typified by a black veil."

Finally, the Minister's statement upon his deathbed is perhaps the most memorable and significant: "Why do you tremble at me alone? . . . Tremble also at each other! Have men avoided me, and women shown no pity, and children screamed and fled, only for my black veil? What, but the mystery which it obscurely typifies, has made this piece of crape so awful? When the friend shows his inmost heart to his friend; the lover to his best beloved; when man does not vainly shrink from the eye of his Creator, loathsomely treasuring up the secret of his sin; then deem me a monster, for the symbol beneath which I have lived, and die! I look around me, and, lo! on every visage a Black Veil!"

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