What is the character sketch of Mr. Hooper in "The Minister's Black Veil"?(by what he says and what others say about him or react to him) Focus primarily on the kind of person he is with a brief...

What is the character sketch of Mr. Hooper in "The Minister's Black Veil"?

(by what he says and what others say about him or react to him)

Focus primarily on the kind of person he is with a brief physical description.

Expert Answers
timbrady eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hooper is presented as an "ordinary" minister.  He is not a fire and brimstone preacher, but instead "strove to win his people heavenward by mild persuasive influence rather than to drive them thither." After he dons the black veil, a simple piece of cloth that covered his face, the people, curious about why he did this since he offered no explanation, begin to speculate.

When the Parson officiates at a funeral, Hawthorne remarks, “A person who watched the interview between the dead and living scrupled not to affirm that, at the instant when the clergyman’s features were disclosed [as he leaned over her and the veil moved] the corpse had slightly shuddered, rustling the shroud."   Of course, with his typical ambiguity, Hawthorne adds, "A superstitious old woman was the only witness of this prodigy."  A pair of townsfolk make a similar remark during the procession to the graveyard after the service.  They "fancy" that they saw " the minister and the maiden's spirit ... walking hand in hand.''  Of course this is not presented as a fact, just as a "fancy."  Such is the power of a simple veil that people are willing to see and believe things of their minister that they never had before.

The positive side of the veil is that it makes Hooper a better minister ... his participation in isolation and guilt, the result of the veil, makes him more understanding of the wounded in his congregation.

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The Minister's Black Veil

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