The author's message explains . . .
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Really you are referring to themes. I find that sin, judgment, and hypocrisy to be a major message in the book. Hawthorne's novel consistently calls into question the notion of sin and what is necessary for redemption. Is Hester's initial crime a sin? Has Hester merely done what others do in secret? Check out "Sin and Judgment" in the GradeSaver link below: