Twice one wonders why Hester lives in a village so eager to banish her from their companionship.
The first occurs shortly after her punishment on the scaffold and the second when she returns to end her days in her former cottage.
The first time Hawthorne addresses this is in Chapter 5:
It may seem marvellous, . . . that this woman should still call that place her home, where, and where only, she must needs be the type of shame. But there is a fatality, a feeling so irresistible and inevitable that it has the force of doom, which almost invariably compels human beings to linger around and haunt, ghost-like, the spot where some great and marked event has given the color to their lifetime; . . . It might be, too,. . . that another feeling kept her within the scene and pathway that had been so fatal. There dwelt, there trode the feet of one with whom she deemed herself connected in a union, that, unrecognized on earth, would bring them together before the bar of final judgment, and make that...
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