The Scarlet Letter

How has hester changed?

Chapter 5

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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. As the narrator puts it, "it gave her a sympathetic knowledge of the hidden sin in other hearts." This point is interesting in that many of the people now accused of hypocrisy regarding the scarlet letter include those such as "a venerable minister or magistrate," people who are viewed as models of "piety and justice" but still carry secret sins. Hester begins to take ownership of her sin and bears her burden with humble patients that people begin to notice.