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Hester and Pearl see Hester's reflection in the breastplate of armor. The reflection isn't normal, but rather distorted like what you'd see in the mirror at a funhouse carnival. The scarlet letter “A” is Hester’s most prominent feature in the reflection. The significance of this is that it is how she's perceived by others. The symbol of her crime overshadows her true self.
The Scarlet Letter/ Chapter 7