The Scarlet Letter - Study Guide Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

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The Puritan mentality was imprinted on the faces of the spectators who gather around the grassy area in front of the jail- stern, unyielding, solemn. All punishments, both for large and small actions, received much the same cold, unsympathetic, concentrated attention, whether it was a child at the whipping post or a witch to die on the gallows.

In this case, the women were particularly agitated. There was no real code of feminine conduct to keep them from seeking the best positions in the crowd to observe an execution. But this wasn't an execution that drove their excitement this day. It was the moral gravity of the crime- adultery. Some were offended by the light sentence imposed by the magistrate. The sum of it was that Hester Prynne would have to wear an embroidered "A" on the body of her gown. "Too merciful,"...

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This section contains 656 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Scarlet Letter Study Guide
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The Scarlet Letter from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.