The Scarlet Letter

How has Hester changed?

Scarlet Letter Chapter 13 (XIII) Another view of Hester

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Hester's reputation has changed over the seven years since she had Pearl. Her devotion to serving the sick and needy has given her access into almost every home, and people now interpret the A as meaning "Able" rather than "Adultery." The narrator goes so far as to state that "the scarlet letter had the effect of the cross on a nun's bosom."

Hester's appearance has also changed over the years, but for the worse. Rather than having her youthful good looks, she now seems more like a shell of a human being. Her "rich and luxuriant" hair either has been cut off or remains hidden under a cap. But she "might at any moment become a woman again, if there were only the magic touch to effect the transfiguration."