The Scarlet Letter

What ''general symbol'' has Hestor become?

its in chapter 5: ''Hester at Her Needle''

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Generally Hester, in chapter 5, is a symbol of sin. Her reputation as an outcast and loner causes a negative aura to be cast around her. Thus young children often creep up to her house to spy on her while she worked. In spite of her excellent needlework, she is never called upon to make a bridal gown due to her reputation. She also has become a symbol of people's own secret sins that they leave hidden away or project on to Hester.