Where does Hester choose to live with her daughter in The Scarlet Letter?

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Hester chooses a small cottage outside of the main area of Boston, apart from any other home. Years before, another colonist had built it and likely abandoned it because the soil would not grow crops. However, Hester does not require much, and she earns her money as a seamstress by sewing and embroidering, and selling her wares. The narrator says:

A clump of scrubby trees, such as alone grew on the peninsula, did not so much conceal the cottage from view, as seem to denote that here was some object which would fain have been, or at least ought to be, concealed. In this little, lonesome dwelling, with some slender means that she possessed, and by the license of the magistrates, who still kept an inquisitorial watch over her, Hester established herself, with her infant child.

The cottage is surrounded, then, by brush and small trees that somewhat conceal it from view and give the impression that something exists there that ought to be so concealed; it must not be a particularly attractive dwelling, then. Hester sets up her home there with her little baby, Pearl, under the watchful eye of the magistrates and ministers who will want to ensure her obedience and faithfulness to their laws going forward.

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When Hester Prynne is released from prison with her infant daughter, she does not leave New England, as the father of her child (who is not yet known to the town) lives nearby. Instead, she chooses to live in a remote thatched cottage at the edge of the town, where the quality of the soil makes it difficult to grow crops. The cottage is near the shore, and it has a view across the sea of forest-grown hills. A clump of scrubby trees grows outside the cottage, as if to mark it as a suspicious spot.

At the cottage, Hester grows a garden and supports herself with her fine needlework skills. She is a talented seamstress, and her scarlet letter "A" is almost an advertisement for how fine her work is. Hester and her daughter, Pearl, live in social exclusion, and Pearl, who begins to resemble a kind of woodland sprite, has the trees and flowers as playmates, as no one in the town visits their lonely cottage.

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The answer to this question can be found in Chapter Five of this novel, where Hester's life after she leaves prison with her daughter is introduced to us. Hester's new life is very symbolic in terms of where she choses to situate herself, as the following description makes clear:

On the outskirts of town, within the verge of the peninsula, but not in close vicinity to any other habitation, there was a small thatched cottage. It had been built by an earlier settler, and abandoned because the soil about it was too sterile for cultivation, while its comparative remoteness put it out of the sphere of that social activity which already marked the habits of the emigrants.

It is this "small thatched cottage" that Hester chooses for her dwelling. The fact that it lies on the fringes of the town and civilised life is particularly fitting, as Hester, through her act of adultery and the scarlet "A" she is forced to wear on her breast, is forced to operate on the fringes of respectable society. Her living place therefore seems apt based on her position amongst the Puritans who have shunned her. That the location has "sterile" soil is again important as it reflects Hester's position in society. She is only free to live somewhere without any perceived value as befits her status as sinner and outcast.

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After her ordeal, where did Hester choose to live in The Scarlet Letter?

Hester Prynne's choice of residency after her ordeal in the novel The Scarlet Letter is quite complex, intellectually speaking. There are several considerations that crossed Hester's mind, and heart, when making her final decision.

Instead of fleeing from the public scorn of the villagers, Hester Prynne decided to remain in New England. The reason for not fleeing was, at first, that New England was

the scene of her guilt, and here should be the scene of her earthly punishment.

There is also another reason which even Hester herself admits: she has the "half a truth, and half a self-delusion" that maybe she might end up with Dimmesdale living together, after all. She knew that the odds for that were low, but she still had a small sense of hope within.

it might be that another feeling kept her within the scene and pathway that had been so fatal...there trode the feet of one with whom she deemed herself connected in a union...and make that their marriage-altar, for a joint futurity of endless retribution.

The place that she selected was located in the outskirts of the village, isolated from many. It was a "thatched cottage", described as having been

built by an earlier settler, and abandoned, because the soil about it was too sterile for cultivation...

This is allegorical to Hester's own situation, where she has become similarly abandoned. She is enduring on her own the shame and the ignominy, and for this reason her heart is slowly becoming sterile.

 It stood on the shore, looking across a basin of the sea at the forest-covered hills, towards the west.

The cottage was isolated, but not so isolated that it would hide Hester from the rest of the world. As expected, the remoteness made Hester seem unapproachable and folklore began to roam about her, with children going by to cause much pain to Hester and then to Pearl, making them pariahs of society.

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