Describe the Puritan women in The Scarlet Letter using one quote from the book.

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Hawthorne seems to select only the harshest words for the Puritan women who surround Hester as she walks toward the scaffold early in The Scarlet Letter. He says, "The witnesses of Hester Prynne's disgrace had not yet passed beyond their simplicity." These words seem to indicate a limit to their understanding. Their judgment is single-minded and perhaps even somewhat lowly or common as they have not evolved past their "simplicity."

As Hester makes her final approach to the scaffold, Hawthorne adds that she does so "under the heavy weight of a thousand unrelenting eyes, all fastened upon her." Here, the Puritan women who observe the scene are singularly described as judgmental and entirely uncompromising. Hester is bearing the weight of her sin, she is carrying her infant, the result of her sin, and she is wearing the scarlet letter on her chest, a symbol of her sin. Still, the women are not described to exhibit compassion. They merely add the weight of their judgment upon her to the list...

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