No man has the power to remove the letter

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"It lies not in the pleasure of the magistrates to take off this badge, calmly replied Hester.  Were I worthy to be quit of it, it would fall away of its own nature, or be transformed into something that should speak a different purport." pg 153

I took interest in this quote because it makes sense of several aspects of this story.  One of the questions asked in my group was "Why do you think Hester did not just relocate to another town and start over?" Many ideas were passed around, one being she was too prideful.  To me this statement right here explains it all.  Hester truly felt that she sinned and her penance was to be served to the Almighty and not men themselves.  Hester most likely believed God just used the men of this town to carry through His demands and when He felt as if her suffering was suffice, the letter then would be removed by Him.  Her leaving the society and removing the letter herself would be redundant.  This statement also is another way Hawthorne gave the readers the sense that in this town, in this novel, religion and government go hand and hand.  It is not enough for Hester to please the magistrates, so no matter how much praise she receives from here on after, Hester's spirit will not be fully lifted.  That is rather depressing.  

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Chapters 12-21 of the scarlet letter

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