close-up portrait of a figure dressed in black wearing a black veil

The Minister's Black Veil

by Nathaniel Hawthorne
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What was the minister's name? What was the fianceé's name?

During his Sunday sermon, Reverend Hooper appears wearing a black veil covering his face. This appearance is odd to the congregation who begins to wonder why their minister is hiding his face from them. Rumors begin to spread about what secret Hooper is hiding and an unrequited love is a speculation. The minister reveals that he has no secret sin and the rumors are unfounded. The only thing he will reveal are two verses in Corinthians Chapter Thirteen: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal . . . And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

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The minister’s name is Reverend Hooper, and he is the main protagonist of the short story, “The Minister’s Black Veil”. Reverend Hooper appears at church one Sunday wearing a black veil hiding his face as he gives a sermon about sin. His appearance is odd to the congregation who begins...

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The minister’s name is Reverend Hooper, and he is the main protagonist of the short story, “The Minister’s Black Veil”. Reverend Hooper appears at church one Sunday wearing a black veil hiding his face as he gives a sermon about sin. His appearance is odd to the congregation who begins to wonder why their minister is hiding his face from them.  Rumors begin to spread about what secret Hooper is hiding and an unrequited love is a speculation.  However, Reverend Hooper is engaged to Elizabeth who tries to get him to remove the veil, and he refuses. Elizabeth breaks off the engagement because of Hooper’s behavior and because he will not confide in her about his reasons for wearing the veil.  Hooper becomes more and more ostracized from society, and he later becomes ill.  However, the nice and caring Elizabeth is his deathbed nurse who implores him to once again take off the mask.  Reverend Hooper, however, dies with the veil on saying, “. . . deem me a monster, for the symbol beneath which I have lived, and die! I look around me, and, lo! on every visage a Black Veil!"  It is at the end of the story that we learn that Hooper’s black veil is not only a symbol of his own sin, but a symbol of everyone’s sin.

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