Consider Hester’s radical musings on human society and the condition of womanhood in “Another View of Hester” (five paragraphs from “The effect of the symbol ...” to “... Eternal Justice should provide”.
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Had the scarlet letter "done its office," Hester would have been shunned her entire life, but that's not what happened. Hester's reputation changed over the seven years since Pearl's bitrh. 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."