In "The Minister's Black Veil," what evidence exists that Elizabeth never stopped loving Hooper even though she broke their engagment?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There are two very conspicuous facts which provide convincing evidence that Elizabeth never stopped loving Reverend Hooper even though she broke their engagement. One is that she never married, although she undoubtedly had many opportunities to do so. The other fact is that she remained devoted to Hooper all her life. Hawthorne describes her presence at Hooper's death bed at the end of the story.

There was the nurse, no hired hand-maiden of death, but one whose calm affection had endured thus long in secrecy, in solitude, amid the chill of age, and would not perish, even at the dying hour. Who, but Elizabeth?

It was her love for Reverend Hooper that prevented her from marrying anyone else, even though she could not bring herself to marry him as long as he insisted on wearing that black veil even when he was alone with her. Evidently she had a better opinion of him than he had of himself.



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