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

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ms-mcgregor's profile pic

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

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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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favoritethings | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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When Mr. Hooper arrives to officiate at the funeral for a young maiden, the mood is already sad and somber. Thus, the "black veil. . . was now an appropriate emblem." It is black, the color of mourning, and often associated with the sadness of death, and this death is especially sad since the deceased is just a young woman who should have had many years left. The veil is mysterious, just as death is. As the pallbearers carry the girl's coffin and the minister prays over her, the veil seems fitting for the occasion.

At the wedding, on the other hand, the veil no longer feels appropriate at all. When Mr. Hooper arrives, "the first thing that [the guests'] eyes rested on was the same horrible black veil, which had added deeper gloom to the funeral, and could portend nothing but evil to a wedding." The veil's gloomy effect felt appropriate at the funeral, but it feels absolutely wrong at such a joyous occasion as a wedding. The veil affected the guests, the bride, and the groom with its strange and eerie sorrowfulness. In fact, Mr. Hooper's veil so unnerved the bride that her "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." The veil, then, matched the emotional quality of the funeral but completely contrasts with what the mood of the wedding ought to have been. People, therefore, are much more accepting of the veil at the funeral and much less so at the wedding.

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robertwilliam | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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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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