Hester is belligerent to aknowledge the severity of her crime in the society she has commited it in. She still holds her head high during her stroll to the Scaffold in the center of town and has even embroidered the Scarlet Letter "A" she was given into her dress with fanciful seamstry. In other words, Hester does not show much remorse as of yet.
Hester feels that she did nothing wrong. She walks with her head held high, and accepts her punishment of standing on the scaffold and wearing the scarlet A, but she shows no remorse or guilt. Her "attitude" angers the Puritan women, which only causes the Puritan women to resent and hate Hester more. When Hester embroiders the scarlet A with gold thread, the Puritan women feel Hester is mocking the punishment. This is Hester's way of accepting the A she is forced to wear on her bosom. We see throughout the novel a progression of the acceptance of Hester's punishment(s), Pearl (the living sin), and eventually Hester.