Because Hawthorne's theme is secret sin, it is likely that he deliberately chooses to not reveal Mr. Hooper's reason(s) for wearing the black veil. The author has, however, borrowed the idea of this veil from a real-life story.
Students who read "The Minister's Black Veil" in a textbook may see the note that Hawthorne wrote and added to his story about a Mr. Joseph Moody in New England:
Who made himself remarkable by the same eccentricity that is here related of the Reverend Mr. Hooper. In this case, however, the symbol had a different import. In early life he had accidentally killed a beloved friend and from that day until the hour of his death, he hid his face from men with a linen cloth. [Elements of Literature. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. 2000.]
The Reverend Moody hid his shame from everyone to humble himself and prevent himself from being judgmental. Reverend Mr. Hooper's donning of the black veil might suggest the idea that people can view others by filtering their...
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