Puritan society in The Scarlet Letter seems just as judgmental and cruel as any school cafeteria. Make one tiny misstep—spill your food; show up to school wearing the wrong kind of backpack—and you're an outcast, with the name-calling and ostracization to prove it. Pretty soon, you're hiding in the bathroom during the whole period just to avoid having to eat alone—like Hester Prynne, hiding out in a cottage on the outskirts of town; or Dimmesdale, respected by his community but without a single close friend. Ahem. Excuse us, we're having horrible flashbacks to middle school.
Isolation empowers Hester Prynne.
Hester loses a sense of her own humanity as a result of being cut off from society.