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Hester is required by the Purtain culture to wear the scarlet letter as a reminder to herself and everyone else of her adultery. However, as time passes, the letter begins to mean more than just a reminder of her troubles; Hawthorne alludes to this in several passages ("A" meaning "Able" or "Angel") as Hester, although living on the fringe of the society (both figuratively and literally), becomes that society's helper. The red letter ceases to be a mark of shame but becomes a badge of honor.
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