Rhetorical devices are persuasive devices.
In chapter 7, Hester sets out with Pearl to the governor's mansion to plead with him that she should be allowed to keep custody of Pearl. She has heard rumors that people want to remove Pearl from her care under the theory that her adultery makes her an unfit mother.
Hawthorne wants to persuade the reader to be on Hester's side as she makes her way to face the governor. To do that, Hawthorne uses an allusion to the David and Goliath story from the Bible. This puts Hester in the position of a David, the underdog facing a far more powerful opponent. It is a match:
between the public, on the one side, and a lonely woman, backed by the sympathies of nature
However, we also notice Hester's assurance and courage, for to her it seems "scarcely" unequal to go up alone against the combined weight of the community.
Further, in a novel in which nature is often depicted as a good vis-a-vis the artificial and stifling constraints of the Puritan social order, Hester is...
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