Young Goodman Brown and Other Hawthorne Short Stories

the minister's black veil

why does elizabeth desert the minister.

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Elizabeth, attempts to uncover the mystery that none had yet been able to solve. In response to her questions, though, Hooper only maintains that the veil is a symbol that he is bound to wear day and night, and that no mortal shall ever see it withdrawn. Even Elizabeth, he says, cannot see his face. She inquires as to whether the veil is to demonstrate sorrow or sin. He replies that “if I hide my face for sorrow, there is cause enough, and if I cover it for secret sin, what mortal might not do the same?” He asks Elizabeth not to desert him, and tells her that he is lonely behind the veil. She asks him to lift the veil just once, but he refuses. At her departure, Hooper smiles sadly again.