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"The Minister's Black Veil" Nathaniel Hawthorne Have you ever been the "victim" of isolation, rumors, mockery, or suspicion of others? In Nathaniel Hawthorne's brilliant short story "The Minister's Black Veil" the author delves into positive and negative effects on the people of Milford and neighboring communities. It is a poignant short story about a minister who simply decides to wear a black veil over his face while a mortal on earth. Father Hooper, the mysterious minister with a black veil, wears the veil as a symbol that sin separates all of us from God and each other.

Many negative effects exist in the Milford community as a result of Mr. Hooper's black veil. The veil starts to develop into the gossip of the town. "The children babbled of it on their way to school. One imitative imp covered his face with an old black handkerchief, thereby so frightening his playmates that the panic seized himself, and he well-nigh lost his wits by his own waggery."(p.

269) Mr. Hooper actually loses Elizabeth, his intended wife, because she cannot accept the fact that her fiancé will not even let her come behind it. "No mortal eye will see it withdrawn. This dismal shade must separate me from the world: even you, Elizabeth, can never come behind it!" (p. 269) Mr. Hooper's fellow clergyman respond to his change in appearance in an abysmal way. "Old Squire Saunders, doubtless by an accidental memory lapse, neglected to invite Mr. Hooper to his table, where the good clergyman had been wont to bless the food, almost every Sunday since his settlement." (p. 267) Despite the plentiful negative effects that the veil brings upon the townspeople, there are some positive. On the positive side the ominous veil over Mr. Hooper's face seems to have given him a more powerful message to his congregation. "Each member of the congregation, the most innocent girl, and the man of hardened breast, felt as if the preachers had crept upon them, behind his awful veil, and discovered their hoarded iniquity of deed and thought." (p. 267) The mystery of Mr. Hooper's veil did create a separation from each other but a powerful sign for each person to become introspective and realize that what really matters in life is between you and God alone. Mr. Hooper becomes very popular in his own town and neighboring towns. ""¦he had one congregation in the church, and a more crowded one in the courtyard." (p.272) "As years wore on, shedding their snows above his sable veil, he acquired a name throughout New England churches, and they called him Father Hooper."(p. 272) The polar forces of positive and negative can teach every one of us a lesson in life. Behind every veil lies the soul of each one of us. Everyday struggles in life effect others in a way that you may never ever realize. The town of Milford experiences this unique situation that created many situations that effected them in positive as well as negative ways.