To add on to the previous response:
1. Hester begins the novel almost immediately. In the second chapter of the novel, she is talked about by the women of the town as a "hussy," and only one of the gossips encourages the other women to consider that all are sinners; Hester just happened to be caught. When one is immediately seen as such a pariah, one naturally acts as such. Yet Hester, though she boldly embroiders the scarlet letter on her bosom, does not actually act that bold throughout the novel. Instead, she takes on her sin and attempts throughout her life to atone for it. In chapter 5, Hawthorne comments on the fact that Hester could have fled town and returned to England, but instead, she stayed (although at the edge of town) and used her needle-work skills to make a living:
Her needle-work was seen on the ruff of the Governor; military men wore it on their scarfs, and the minister on his band; it decked the baby’s little cap; it was shut up, to be mildewed and moulder...
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