The Question and Answer section for The Scarlet Letter is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Notice the dark, grey, and gothic imagery in the quote below:
He indistinctly beheld a form under the trees, clad in garments so sombre, and so little relieved from the gray twilight into which the clouded sky and the heavy foliage had darkened...
Dimmesdale no longer laughs in happiness. His laughter is tainted with regret, guilt, and sin. Dimmesdale's soul is in agony and the laughter he describes has a tone of mocking and damnation in it.
Before Hester’s sentence is made public, several women waiting outside the jail claim her punishment would be more severe if it were up to them. Why does Hawthorne include this information so early in the narrative, and what can be inferred about what awa
This sets us up for Puritan justice. The women want to see Hester suffer. Perhaps they are jealous of Hester's past freedom to have an affair. They are also angry that she wears her scarlet letter, meant to shame her, like a badge of honor.