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In The Scarlet Letter, how are the matrons described?

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rosellemez | (Level 1) Honors

Posted October 8, 2012 at 12:41 PM via web

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In The Scarlet Letter, how are the matrons described?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 9, 2012 at 5:19 AM (Answer #1)

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We first meet the matrons of this town in Chapter Two, which is when Hester is about to be led forth from the prison, holding her child, for the first time. As the narrator introduces these matrons to us, he describes them as possessing a "coarser fibre" both morally and physically in these women and they are described as having "broad shoulders and well-developed busts" and other signs of healthy outdoor living. However, perhaps one of the main descriptions the narrator gives us is in the speech of these women and how their speech differs from women of his own time of writing:

There was, moreover, a boldness and rotundity of speech among these matrons, as most of them seemed to be, that would startle us at the present day, whether in respect to its purport or its volume of tone.

The women are therefore different in the kind of matters that they are happy to speak about, and indeed this is shown by the eager way in which they discuss Hester Prynne's punishment and fate, and how they would have dealt with the matter.

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