Hester's needlework was done for many in the community, but not for a certain group. Who was she not asked to work for, and why?
Hester is a gifted artist with the needle and she is able to make a living with her fine needlework. Her work adorns burial shrouds, baby christening outfits, military uniforms and even government officials' robes. The one area in which her work is not acceptable, however, is for weddings and wedding clothing. Because Hester has committed adultery, her work is not considered appropriate for brides. In Puritan society, brides were expected to be chaste virgins, so to have needlework done by a woman who was an unwed mother was considered inappropriate and wrong. Hypocritical, you say? That is exactly the point. Her embroidery is very ornate and fancy, contrary to what the Puritans would normally think was appropriate to wear in their austere existence, yet they made exceptions for special occasions and sought Hester out to decorate their clothing. Not wedding dresses, though.