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 is remarkable about the busybodies in "The Minister's Black Veil"?

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The narrator says it is surprising that, with all the busybodies and impertinent people in the congregation, not a single one of them could bring himself or herself to come right out and ask Mr. Hooper why he has begun to wear the mysterious black veil.  Further, despite the fact that Mr. Hooper has, in the past, been somewhat prone to self-doubt and a willingness to follow the advice of his advisors, no one dares to approach him to make a friendly comment about the effect the new veil has on the people in the parish.  Instead, everyone remains totally mum on the subject of the veil, and people begin to avoid him as much as possible.  He is still called on, of course, to preside over funerals and weddings, but there are no more invitations to Sunday dinner.

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