In "The Minister's Black Veil", does Mr. Hooper's smile symbolize anything?I'm just curious. The smile keeps coming up often. I'm just not sure if it symbolizes anything important or not.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I don't necessarily think that Mr. Hooper's smile symbolises anything, but I do think it reveals a lot about his character and the way he responds to the reactions of his parishioners, his loved ones and other people. Consider how the smile is described:

Mr. Hooper's smile glimmered faintly.

We know that Mr. Hooper is a gentle, kind man, for "He strove to win his people heavenward, by mild persuasive influences, rather than to drive them thither, by the thunders of the Word." We can thus see his smile as his ironic and gentle response to the lack of understanding that those around him have of his reasons for putting on the black veil. For Mr. Hooper has learnt the terrifying truth that all characters at least acknowledge in part if not completely - that all of us bear the black veil on us with everyone, and the veil will only be taken away when we meet our Maker.

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