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Hester's skill at needlework, earlier shown in the fine way that she displayed the scarlet letter, allows her to maintain a fairly stable lifestyle. Still, her reputation as an outcast and loner causes a negative aura to be cast around her. Thus young children often creep up to her house to spy on her while she worked. In spite of her excellent needlework, she is never called upon to make a bridal gown due to her reputation.Hester's social life is virtually eliminated as a result of her shameful history. She is treated so poorly that often preachers will stop in the street and start to deliver a lecture as she walks by. Hester also begins to hate children, who unconsciously realize there is something different about her and thus start to follow her with "shrill cries" through the city streets.
One of the things which Hester starts to notice is that every once in a while she receives a sympathetic glance and feels like she has a companion in her sin.