In what ways does the veil affect Mr.Hooper's relationship with his congregation, in The Minister's Black Veil?

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mlsldy3 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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Nathaniel Hawthorne was known for his stories based in New England and dealing with Puritan religion. His works of literature have become synonymous with sin and righteousness, and the judgments of townspeople.

The Minister's Black Veil is no different. Parson Hooper is the reverend in the town of Milford. He shows up at Mass one morning wearing a black veil that covers his eyes. Immediately the townspeople start gossiping about why he is wearing the veil. Some of the people say that he has gone mad, while others say he is covering a shameful sin. Soon the children of the congregation become afraid of him and the adults continue to gossip about him. Though the townspeople are curious about this, no one has the nerve to ask him why he is wearing the veil. The only person who asks him is his fiancee, Elizabeth. He won't even tell her why he wears the veil. The relationship with his congregation changes dramatically. They now start seeing their own sins that they have been hiding. Most of the people start to have less and less to do with him. Elizabeth, even though she loves him, ends up leaving him, because he won't tell her why he wears the veil and won't take it off for her. 

Now that he is alone, he actually begins to become a better clergyman. He begins to gain many converts who feel like they are living beneath a black veil, as well. 

"All through life the black veil had hung between him and the world: it had separated him from the cheerful brotherhood and woman's love, and kept him in the saddest of all prisons, his own heart; and still it lay upon his face, as if to deepen the gloom of his dark-some chamber, and shade him from the sunshine of eternity". 

This quote sums up how he was now living his life. Elizabeth never married and was with him when he was dying. He tells everyone around him that they all wear black veils. He is trying to show everyone that there is always something hidden within us. 

Here is a video with analysis of the story:

Sources:

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