Young Goodman Brown and Other Hawthorne Short Stories

the ministers black veil by nathaniel hawthorne

how is the reaction of the townspeople ironic

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Though some may wonder why Hooper chooses to wear the veil, the reason is not a central point of the story. In fact, it is the ambiguity that makes the reaction of the townspeople all the more telling of their inherent sin and hypocritical nature. While speculating as to what horrific crime the minister must have committed, they overlook their own crimes, both large and small. The minister becomes someone who is readily called in times of need, but completely avoided in times of happiness. They shun him, only because of a simple veil – and in doing so, demonstrate how shallow and unappreciative their faith truly is.