On the same day that Mr. Hooper began to wear the veil, he directed a funeral and a wedding.
Mr. Hooper preached the morning and afternoon sermons before he presided over both ceremonies, however. At the church, Mr. Hooper's appearance created confusion and anxiety among his parishioners.
As the story progresses, we learn how Mr. Hooper's black veil exposes the latent fears and superstitions of his parishioners. They are afraid of him because the meaning of his covered face remains hidden to them. Despite the universal dread among the congregation, no one dares to confront Mr. Hooper about the reasons for his strange new habit.
At the funeral, those who are gathered find no comfort in Mr. Hooper's words. They imagine that their preacher already walks with the dead. There is a similar response to Mr. Hooper at the wedding in Milford Village. No one feels like celebrating, as Mr. Hooper's veil casts a malignant cloud over the couple's union. Hawthorne uses visual imagery to great effect here:
But the bride's cold fingers quivered in the tremulous hand of the bridegroom, and her deathlike paleness caused a whisper that the maiden who had been buried a few hours before was come from her grave to be married.
The specter of death hovers over what should have been a happy celebration. Mr. Hooper's veil causes everyone to think of death and its hold upon each person. So, the black veil symbolizes the power of death and the fears it inspires in us.