The Idea of freedom is very much a paradox here. Hester, like anyone in the colony, an choose to leave,
the world before her,--kept by no restrictive clause of her condemnation within the limits of the Puritan settlement, so remote and so obscure,--free to return to her birthplace, or to any other European land, and there hide her character and identity under a new exterior, as completely as if emerging into another state of being,--and having also the passes of the dark, inscrutable forest open to her, where the wildness of her nature might assimilate itself with a people whose customs and life were alien from the law that had condemned her....
Hester, however, chooses freedom from within the colony. She pushes the narrow boundaries to force her own place with a freedom that she has created. Hester must sacrifice much to gain this amount of freedom.