How Mean Can People Be?

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The first six chapters of The Scarlet Letter bring up a lot of questions for me. First off, the whole idea of sin is brought up and the way that the puritans deal with it. Yet, I don't understand how they could degrade someone and make them feel subhuman. There was a woman in the market place who said "This woman has brought shame upon us all, and ought to die."(49) Why are the women in particular so harsh? Why do they feel the need to expose and publicly degrade Hester? It bothers me how everyone is really ripping into Hester, when they all seem to have skeletons in their closets. Especially her husband who sent her alone, didn't follow her and now he gets upset. Also, I ask why she stayed in Boston? I think maybe since that is where she committed her sin, that is where she should be punished.

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