close-up portrait of a figure dressed in black wearing a black veil

The Minister's Black Veil

by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Start Free Trial

In Hawthorne's "The Minister's Black Veil," how is the veil described (besides its color)?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Minister's Black Veil" illustrates many different themes illuminated in the text through the use of the veil worn by Reverend Hooper. The veil represents sin, guilt, doubt, ambiguity, alienation and loneliness. That said, while the veil is representative of many things (which the reader and some congregation members come to understand by the end of the text), the veil's physical appearance is directly described.

The veil is black, as denoted by the title and text alike. It is made of "two folds" of crepe (or "crape" as it appears in the text). Crepe is a thin fabric, usually made of a lightweight material, like silk. It has a wrinkled texture. The veil is not large enough to cover the minister's entire face; instead, it only covers everything except his chin and mouth.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team