Hawthorne seems, largely, to sympathize with Hester Prynne. He is incredibly critical of the Puritans, calling the women ugly and characterizing them as "self-constituted judges" that mercilessly call for Hester's death or branding. The men wear "sad-coloured garments and grey steeple-crowned hats." He is clearly not a fan of the Puritans. Hester, on the other hand, is described quite differently. In describing her scarlet letter, the narrator says,
It was so artistically done, and with so much fertility and gorgeous luxuriance of fancy, that it had all the effect of a last and fitting decoration to the apparel which she wore, and which was of a splendour in accordance with the taste of the age, but greatly beyond what was allowed by the sumptuary regulations of the colony.
While the Puritans are characterized as looking ugly and sad, Hester is described with words that connote vitality and life. Words like "artistically," "fertility," "gorgeous," "luxuriance," and "fancy" all set her...
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