The beginning of the story starts off with the usual routine of townspeople walking to church. in Milford, a small community influenced by religion.
In the church, the sexton looks over the people and identifies Reverend Hooper walking in with a strange covering over his face. Suddenly, everyone looks over, puzzled. They saw a black veil over Hooper's face which was unfamiliar in this society. This observation seemed to disturb the townspeople and thought of it as an action of sinfulness.
"Mr. Hooper had the reputation of a good preacher, but not an energetic one: he strove to win his people heavenward by mild, persuasive influences, rather than to drive them thither by the thunders of the Word."This quote represent's how Mr. Hooper's odd appearance with the black veil, unsettled the people because of this great reputation that was created upon him.
One of the only people who weren't afraid of Hooper's appearance was his fiancee Elizabeth. Although she cared for him, it irritated her that the townspeople think he has committed a sin in which Hooper responds that all humans have sins. She begins to develop a fear of the black veil which led her to break up with him. This isolated Hooper completely from Milford and was filled with sorrow that this material had separated him from happiness.
Although Hooper had lost respect from the people of Milford, he continued to wear the black veil to symbolize that humans sins isn't apart of any corruption in mankind.
Sooner or later, the people begin to see Hooper's morals and was now known as a magnificent preacher. On Hooper's deathbed, Clark wanted to remove the black veil to reveal himself but Hooper resfuses. He speaks out and establishes that people shouldn't be afraid of him but of each other. Additionally, he explains that people must be open to one another and express their inmost heart.
"In this manner Mr. Hooper spent a long life, irreproachable in outward act, yet shrouded in dismal suspicions; kind and loving,though unloved, and dimly feared; a man apart from men, shunned in their health and joy, but ever summoned to their aid in mortal anguish."