The Minister’s Black Veil Short Summary
As the story by Nathaniel Hawthorne begins, the congregation is surprised to see Reverend Mr. Hooper wearing a veil that blocks most of his face from view. The townspeople are not sure of the intention of the Reverend to put on the veil. The sermon of the day revolves around the sins that people do in secret. Church congregation becomes even more concerned about what the Reverend is up to.
After the day’s sermon, Reverend Hooper goes to a funeral where a young lady is to be buried. People think that there may be a connection between the reverend wearing the veil and the funeral. Although the veil is good for a funeral, the fact that the Reverend attends a wedding night with the same veil prints a day of gloominess. Children of the town also begin questioning the strange behavior of the Reverend. However, no one is courageous enough to make an inquiry about the veil from the Reverend.
Elizabeth, the Reverend’s fiancé, is the one who attempts to create a happy environment so that the Reverend can remove the veil. He refuses to put it off. The behavior of the Reverend putting on the veil even in private makes Elizabeth frustrated. When she is fed up, she ends their engagement, although it is painful to her.
The Reverend’s effectiveness as a man of God improves while his personal life falls apart. Some people with dark secrets begin putting on a similar veil in solidarity with the Reverend. Dying sinners also find him a person they can talk to. After sometimes his title changes to Father Hooper and he never takes off the veil for the rest of his life.
People say that it is his veil that separates the Reverend from the happy life of brotherhood in the town and a woman’s love. The Reverend is a prisoner of issues of his own heart, and the rest of the people can see it. Elizabeth kept the Reverend in her heart though she was no longer engaged to him. She does not fall in love with any other person instead of opting to be single.
When the Reverend is almost dying, Elizabeth comes to see him. He still refuses to remove the veil when prompted by Elizabeth. When he is about to die, he warns those around him not to fear. The Reverend tells them they also wear veils as a sign of the dark secrets they do not want people to know. He dies and is buried with the veil.