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lusie0520 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Reverend Hooper is characterized directly and indirectly in the story, so it is helpful to understand a definition for each type of characterization.  In direct characterization, a narrator makes a direct comment about a character. In the case of Reverend Hooper, “…a gentlemanly person, of about thirty…” or “Mr. Hooper had the reputation of a good preacher…” 

What is ironic in this story is that the direct characterization of Mr. Hooper as gentlemanly, kind, and a good preacher is directly contradicted by the indirect characterization.  Indirect characterization is when an author reveals a character’s traits through their words, thoughts or actions; through descriptions of the character’s appearance; through what other characters say about him or her; or through the way they react to him or her.  A good example of the indirect characterization of Mr. Hooper is when one of his parishioners says, “He has changed himself into something awful, only by hiding his face.”  Of course, this is not true, but this is what the parishioners think.  “But that piece of crape, to their imagination, seemed to hang down  before his heart.”  As we read the story, we also begin to wonder what Mr. Hooper could be hiding, although there is no indication, really, that he is hiding anything.

When writing your paragraph, consider Mr. Hooper’s reasons for wearing the black veil.  At the end of the story, he says, “I look around me, and lo! on every visage a black veil.”  Hooper’s intention was to use the black veil as a symbol, or  a lesson, to others that everyone, even the minister, has sins to hide.  The reaction of the people to their minister when he begins wearing the veil shows us that people are quick to judge, to assume someone has done something wrong when they have not. Ask yourself what kind of person Reverend Hooper must have been to be willing to wear this symbol and destroy his reputation.

Further Reading:
Read the study guide:
The Minister's Black Veil

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