"Know, then, this veil is a type and a symbol, and I am bound to wear it ever, both in light and darkness, in solitude and before the gaze of multitudes, and as with strangers, so with my familiar friends. No mortal eye will see it withdrawn. This dismal shade must separate me from the world." (Hawthorne 323). Reverend Hooper has a secret; one that he's vowed to never reveal. The only accompanying evidence of his dark sin is the black veil that hides his face. Through the characters in "The Minister's Black Veil," Nathaniel Hawthorne portrays the effects of moral uncertainty and mystery within a Puritan community.
"The Minister's Black Veil" takes place in Milford village, a small Puritan community. Paris Hooper, a minister, enters into his congregation one day wearing a black veil. This is a significant event because the clergyman was expected to always represent goodness and purity in the community. Ironically, the day of the minister's sudden change in appearance was also the day of the funeral of a young woman. The veil immediately frightens the people around him and starts up a stream of gossip. Hooper states that he wears the veil as an outward symbol of his mournful spirit, but later reveals that it represents sin as well. Though many try to make him confess, he refuses. As a result, the true cause of his change remains a mystery to all. On his deathbed, he reflects on the entire situation; the community members" feelings towards him, the actions of men, and himself. He passes with a smile on his face-still wearing his black veil- , knowing that he is not the only one that has sinned so deeply, and that everyone makes mistakes.