Find imagery to describe Hawthorne's attitude towards the characters in the conclusion of The Scarlet Letter.

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter XXIV, Hawthorne writes,

And Hester Prynne had returned, and taken up her long-forsaken shame!  But where was little Pearl?....But, through the remainder of Hester's life, there were indications that the recluse of the scarlet letter was the object of love and interest with some inhaitant of another land.  Letters came, with armorial seals upon them, though of bearings unknown to English heraldry.

These letters are from Hester's daughter, who has married.  She sends lovingly little ornaments, and beautiful things that have been sewn by hand, indicating that Pearl has learned the art of needlework from her mother. 

Other imagery comes in this chapter from the resumption of wearing the scarlet letter by Hester Prynne.  However, Hawthorne writes that the meaning of this symbol has been altered to

a type of something to be sorrowed after and looked upon with awe, yet with reverence, too.

Hester has weathered the scorn and shame placed upon her by the strict Puritanical code.  She has redeemed herself through her good works; for, on her grave, there appears "the semblance of an engrave escutcheon." Albeit sombre, and in shadow, the scarlet A now adorns the grave much like a coat of arms.  Hester Prynne has earned respect; she has, at last, earned a place in her community as  Hawthorne points to the idea of redemption from sin through good works, a concept counter to that of Puritanism.

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The Scarlet Letter

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