What is the major symbol and its meaning in "The Minister's Black Veil"?

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The main symbol in Hawthorne's short story "The Minister's Black Veil" is Reverend Mr. Hooper's black veil. The ominous black veil symbolically represents the various ways people conceal and hide their secret sins from public view. At the beginning of the story, Mr. Hooper wears the black piece of crape that covers his visage and hangs down to his lips. The community members and congregation are initially startled and fear Mr. Hooper because he wears the ominous black veil. The black veil also corresponds to the main subject of Mr. Hooper's Sunday message to his congregation on the first day he wears the dark crape. Mr. Hooper wears the black veil for the remainder of his life and even refuses to remove it on his deathbed. Mr. Hooper's final words emphasize the symbolic nature of the black crape when he says, “I look around me, and, lo! on every visage a black veil (Hawthorne, 5). Overall, the symbolism of the black veil represents the various ways each person conceals their secret sins. Each person metaphorically wears a black veil when they hide their private transgressions and put on a “mask” of righteousness in front of their peers.

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The black veil that Rev. Mr. Hooper refuses to remove is the main symbol in this story. It is symbolic of many things. It is symbolic of death-which is happening to Hooper. It is also symbolic of mourning, possibly the mourning of the sins of mankind. Hooper himself explains that the black veil is symbolic of mankind's secrets that are hidden. There are many ways that the veil could be seen as symbolic.

Critics have suggested that the veil is symbolic of Original Sin or Hooper's pride.

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