On the other hand, what qualities of Hester seem to be diminishing during these years of wearing the scarlet letter? What causes these changes?
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The traits that Hester has been given by others are the traits that diminish over the course of the story. The badge she wore (the scarlet letter) decreed that she was an adultress, but that chaanged. It later came to symbolize "able" and "angel". Thus, Hester does not change.... the people's perception of her changes.