In one paragraph, can you discuss the positive and negative effects of the minister's notorious veil?"The Minister's Black Veil" by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Positive Effects of the Minister's Veil

Mr. Hooper's sermon after donning the veil becomes more powerful as it "was tinged, rather more darkly than usual, with the gentle gloom of Mr. Hooper's temperament."

It causes the congregation to become uneasy as they examine their own guilty consciences.

Mr. Hooper becomes an "awful power" over people in the agony for sin.  His converts say that they were previously "behind him" with the veil.

The dying cry out for him so that they can confess.

When Mr. Hooper delivers the election sermon, the legislators pass measure that possess the "gloom and piety" of their ancestors.

He acquires a fame throughout New England and is known as Father Hooper.

Father Hooper is considered "venerable, holy in deed and thought."

Negative Effects of the Minister's Veil

The members of Mr. Hooper's congregation suspect him of trying to hide something, wondering if he seeks to keep "the dread Being whom he was addressing" from knowing.

Some of the members of the church leave; "more than one woman of delicate nerves was forced to leave the meetinghouse."

Each member of the congregation, even the innocent, feel as though the peacher "had crept upon them,...and discovered their hoarded iniquity of deed or thought." They feel as if their private thoughts have been invaded.

Mr. Hooper is not invited to share Sunday dinner at anyone's home.

Members of the congregation wonder if there is or is not some mystery.

The congregation begins to gossip and become suspicious of Mr. Hooper

When Mr. Hooper greets people, "strange and bewildered looks" repay his courtesy.

Mr. Hooper is never invited to weddings either as the minister or as a guest.  When he does come to one, the veil is interpreted as having only the power "to portend nothing but evil to the wedding."

The veil separates him from the "cheerful brotherhood and woman's love."

When Mr. Hooper catches his reflection in a mirror at the wedding, his body shudders and he spills his glass of wine; he rushes into the darkness.

A sad smile flickers upon Mr. Hooper's mouth as he passes people.

The veil "throws its influence over his whole person, and makes him ghostlike from head to foot."

Superstitions are raised about the minister's ability to affect even corpse.

No one approaches him to ask about the veil, or to remonstrate against it as it causes dread.

The veil becomes a symbol "of a fearful secret between him and them."

Mr. Hooper loses his fiance, Elizabeth, because he will not remove the veil.

Rumors begin that Mr. Hooper's conscience tortured him for some "great crime, too horrible to be entirely concealed."

Mr. Hooper spends the rest of his life shrouded in suspicion, and is separated from his fellow men.

When Mr. Hooper refuses to remove the veil even in death, the thought of his wearing the veil remains an awful and frightening one.


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The Minister's Black Veil

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