Hooper is wearing a black veil that covers his entire face except for his mouth and chin.
Plot summary[ edit ] The story begins with the sexton standing in front of the meeting-houseringing the bell. He is to stop ringing the bell when the Reverend Mr. Hooper comes into sight. However, the congregation is met with an unusual sight: Hooper is wearing a black semi-transparent veil that obscures all of his face but his mouth and chin from view.
This creates a stir among the townspeople, who begin to speculate about his veil and its significance. As he takes the pulpit, Mr. After the sermon, a funeral is held for a young lady of the town who has died. Hooper stays for the funeral and continues to wear his now more appropriate veil. It is said that if the veil were to blow away, he might be "fearful of her glance".
Hooper says a few prayers and the body is carried away. That night another occasion arises, this time a joyous one—a wedding. Hooper arrives in his veil again, bringing the atmosphere of the wedding down to gloom.
By the next day, even the local children are talking of the strange change that seems to have come over their minister.
Yet, no one is able to ask Mr. Elizabeth tries to be cheerful and have him take it off.
He will not do so, even when they are alone together, nor will he tell her why he wears the veil. Eventually, she gives up and tells him goodbye, breaking off the engagement. The one positive benefit of the veil is that Mr.
Hooper becomes a more efficient clergymangaining many converts who feel that they too are behind the black veil with him.
Dying sinners call out for him alone. Hooper lives his life thus, though he is promoted to Father, until his death. According to the text, "All through life the black veil had hung between him and the world: When she finds out that he is deathly ill she comes to his death bed to be by his side.
Elizabeth and the Reverend ask him once again to remove the veil, but he refuses.
As he dies, those around him tremble. He tells them in anger not to tremble, not merely for him but for themselves, for they all wear black veils. Father Hooper is buried with the black veil on his face. The scene provides the backdrop for a psychological exploration of the themes of sin, repentance, and morality.
Hawthorne uses their reaction as a critique of the Puritan image of original sinusing the veil as a representation not of "secret sin" but the inherent sinful nature of all people.
The townspeople grow uncomfortable with him because they start to become aware of their own sin. While Poe proposed this, Hawthorne never lets the reader know the reasoning behind the veil.
Hooper, in his stubborn use of the veil parable of one sin, is unconsciously guilty of a greater sin: Hooper arouses in a sermon the notion of secret sin and the sad mysteries in which we hide from our nearest and dearest.
Hooper acknowledges the problem of sin, the guilt that is admitted openly, and the guilt of sin that is repressed or hidden from the world.
When the Reverend Hooper makes the people aware of the darkness within his being, he introduces disintegration of a barrier between his repugnant, repressed self and his conscious self.Instant downloads of all LitChart PDFs (including The Minister’s Black Veil).
The symbol in “The Minister’s Black Veil” is, of course, the black veil. Made of a fabric typically worn at a funeral, the black veil covers all .
The Minister's Black Veil In the small Puritan town of Milford, the townspeople walk to church. As they’re settling into their seats, the sexton points out Milford’s young minister, Reverend Hooper, walking thoughtfully toward the church. The Minister’s Black Veil Summary SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides for challenging works of literature.
Keep reading for an expert-written summary and analysis of The Minister’s Black Veil by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The Minister’s Black Veil Summary SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics.
Impress your friends and neighbors with how much you know about literature: This study guide for "The Minister's Black Veil" by Nathaniel Hawthorne contains a summary, character analysis and thesis ideas.