What is the resolution to "The Minister's Black Veil"?  

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The resolution of "The Minister's Black Veil" is the conclusion of the conflicts effected by the black veil that Mr. Hooper has worn: The mystery of his symbolic gesture of wearing a veil over his face has reminded people of their own secret sins, so they have rejected him; he, in turn, has died a lonely victim of the hypocrisy of others.

Hawthorne's resolution to his story leaves the protagonist defeated because while Mr. Hooper has won his conflict in the sense that no longer does anyone ask him to lift his veil, still "the gentle and timid would turn aside to avoid him.” Also, he is left isolated from human friendship and love as he lives behind the veil in "an ambiguity of sin or sorrow" which surrounds him. In fact, the Reverend Hooper remains in "that saddest of all prisons, his own heart." Ironically, then, in his effort to get others to look into their hearts and see their secret sins, the minister dies imprisoned by a heart that has lost all its joy. For this reason, he is buried with his veil yet on his face.