The Scarlet Letter

what words in the first paragraph characterize the mood of the people standing before jail?

In the first paragraph what characterizes the mood of the people that stand before jail

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This opening chapter of the main narrative introduces several of the images and themes within the story to follow. These images will recur in several settings and serve as metaphors for the underlying conflict.

In the manner that Hawthorne describes it, the prison embodies the unyielding severity of puritan law: old, rusted, yet strong with an "iron-clamped oaken door." Puritan law is coated, in this account, in the rust of tradition and obsolete purpose. But despite the evolution of society, the laws have not kept up. As a result, the door remains tightly shut and iron-clamped. It seems it will take a superhuman force to somehow weaken the mores that control the society in which our story will take place.

Consider words like "throng of bearded men"

"in sad-colored garments and gray, steeple-crowned hats"

It's all pretty depressing.