The major symbol in the story is the black veil that Rev. Hooper puts on his face. By looking at Hooper's actions and the description of the veil itself, the reader can be guided to the major theme of the "secret sin" in every person. The subject of Hooper's sermon on the first day he wears the veil is that of "secret sin". The veil itself obscures Hooper's face, thus adding to the mystery surrounding the veil. Although we never know exactly why Hooper wore the veil, that sense of ambiguity adds to the story. We never really know other peoples' secret sins, either, but we do know they have them. Ironically, by wearing the veil, Hooper draws attention to his own "secret sin", and it separates him from other people, especially Elizabeth---just as secret sin does in the real world.