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In a single afternoon, Hooper presides at both a funeral and a wedding. How do people...

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nkalaj03 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 2, 2008 at 9:46 AM via web

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In a single afternoon, Hooper presides at both a funeral and a wedding. How do people react to the presence of the veil at each event?

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robertwilliam | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted November 2, 2008 at 11:10 AM (Answer #1)

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In short, people react with awe and horror to the presence of the veil. At the funeral, it deepens the sense of melancholy and ominousness, even to the point to which two parishioners at a young maiden's funeral see it as almost demonic:

I had a fancy," replied she, "that the minister and the maiden's spirit were walking hand in hand."

"And so had I, at the same moment," said the other.

At the wedding, the "horrible black veil, which had added deeper gloom to the funeral... could portend nothing but evil to the wedding". It frightens the guests, and it even frightens Hooper himself:

...catching a glimpse of his figure in the looking-glass, the black veil involved his own spirit in the horror with which it overwhelmed all others. His frame shuddered, his lips grew white, he spilt the untasted wine upon the carpet, and rushed forth into the darkness.

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