Chapter 15, the scarlet letterrr
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I believe that Hawthorne's intent is to illustrate that Hester is a good mother. Some see her failure to honestly answer Pearl's question about the meaning of the letter as a blatant lie. I see it as a determined example of protection. Hester doesn't want Pearl to attach the negative meaning of the letter with her own existence. She doesn't want to pass what others see as her own shame onto her innocent daughter. In all honesty..... what mother would?
The Scarlet Letter