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How do people react to the presence of Hooper's veil at the funeral and at the wedding?

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nkalaj03 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

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

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How do people react to the presence of Hooper's veil at the funeral and at the wedding?

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 2, 2008 at 9:47 AM (Answer #1)

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The effect of the veil is rather frightening at both events. During the dead girls' funeral, Hooped bends over the coffin of the dead and has to grasp on to the veil to prevent it from falling away from his face. A woman in the crowd says she saw the corpse shudder when he did this. The veil definitely casts a pall over the proceedings. Later that night, Hooper must preside at a wedding. All the guests think he will arrive without the veil. But he has kept the veil on and people are astonished. The presence of the veil makes the wedding seem like a funeral and some think Hooper is purposely bringing the spirit of the dead girl to the wedding. Then Hooper sees a reflection of himself in the mirror and evidently realizes what effect he is having on the wedding. Instead of removing the veil, he simply runs out into the night. This, of course, makes him the subject of gossip throughout the town.
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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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