The Minister's Black Veil Questions and Answers
by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Minister's Black Veil book cover
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Why does the minister wear the black veil in "The Minister's Black Veil"? I have to give one specific reason why he wears it and then give the supporting details through out the story. My answer has to be a 5 paragraph essay, any ideas?

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William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Hawthorne deliberately leaves the most obvious question unanswered. Why does Mr. Hooper wear that black veil? Most people are afraid to ask the minister that question, perhaps because they are afraid he has some ugly scar or skin disease or eye affliction he wishes to conceal. The reader is drawn into the story by curiosity, hoping that sooner or later an explanation will be given by the narrator or by Hooper himself; but at the end of the story the question remains unanswered.

The only person who asks him directly why he insists on wearing the veil is Elizabeth, who felt she had a right to know his secret and to see his face because they were engaged to be married. But through the long scene in which they discussed the matter, the minister would not reveal the answer to that question. In two of his responses to her questions, the minister uses the word “if” three times.


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atikmastda | Student

To hide his secret sins, and probably also to make the others think about their own consicousness (this last is only my private opinion).