In "The Minister's Black Veil," analyse the significance of the the black veil that Mr. Hooper wore to the wedding.

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

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It is interesting that Mr. Hooper wears his veil to preside over both a wedding and a funeral, and his veil impacts the audience at both events greatly. Hawthorne is clearly trying to show that the symbolic significance of the veil and the secret sin that it represents stretches to both times of sadness and times of joy. The way in which the veil taints this joyful event is made clear through the following description:

Such was its immediate effect on the guests, that a cloud seemed to have rolled duskily from beneath the black crape, and dimmed the light of the candles. The bridal pair stood up before the minsiter. But the bride's cold fingers quivered in the tremulous hand of the bridegroom, and her deathlike paleness caused a whisper, that the maiden who had been buried a few hours before, was come from her grave to be married.

If this were not enough to ruin the wedding of this poor couple, Mr. Hooper than proceeds to catch sight of himself in a mirror, and so terrified by his image swathed in the black veil, runs out in fear and terror. Let us just focus, however, on the way in which the black veil acts as a clear and obvious symbol of something that most people like to ignore and deny. The visible reminder that it is of our secret sin disrupts even the most joyful of events, such as the wedding. What we like to repress and ignore is thus flaunted by such a symbol, which impacts everything.

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