Ch. 2: The Market-Place
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In many ways, Hester is defined to the extent that she is undefined. Although this may sound cryptic, it might be true for the following reason: namely, that religion in the novel is something fixed and defined (and cold, as a result). Hester, on the other hand, is a representation of vitality and hope for the oppressed and the victim.
DEspite her public shaming, there is a beauty about Hester which people can't help but notice. They may not admit it, but it is noticeable. Hawthorne compares her beauty and elegance while on the scaffold to an image of Madonna and Child, or Divine Maternity. She refuses to hide her badge of shame with her daughter Pearl; that she remains steadfastly proud of. Hester is humility and grace despite her shaming on the scaffold.