Perhaps the chapter that best serves your needs is Chapter XIII in which the reader is afforded an insight into Hester Prynne.
Hester Prynne imbibed this spirit. She assumed a freedom of speculation, then common enough on the other side of the Atlantic, but which our forefathers, had they known it, would have held to be a deadlier crime than that stigmatised by the scarlet letter. In her lonesome cottage, by the sea-shore, thoughts visited her, such as dared to enter no other dwelling in New England; shadowy guests, that would have been as perilous as demons to their entertainer, could they have been seen so much as knocking at her door.
One of the questions which Hester asks herself is whether life is still worth living. She decides that it is not. For, she understands that the whole of society must be torn down until she can live freely again. Hester's speculation reveals Hawthorne's analysis of the role of women in American society, both within the setting and at the time that the narrative was written; namely, 1850.
Hester's ponderings reveal that three steps which must occur before women can ever achieve equality: the whole of society must be altered; men's attitudes toward women must change, and women must change their image of themselves, perhaps losing their “ethereal essence,” or femininity, as they do so. With remarkable perspicacity, Hawthorne, through Hester examines the sociological currents in his society.