The scarlet letter
The description of the town-beadle conveys the puritan atmosphere since it's his duty to apply the Puritan code of law, so he's almost the personification of Puritanism. The sword by his side and the staff of office in his hand symbolize the strictness of this kind of society. Then Hester comes out, and the narrator describes her dress, which she has sewn by herself and is definitely glamorous: it's so gorgeous, artistically done and colorful, that it makes her look more beautiful than the other women, instead of pointing her sins out. The dress reflects her personality: she's a superb seamstress, she's a clever, creative and good-looking, young, fertile woman. As she climbs the stairs and gets on the scaffold, the crowd doesn't behave as expected: none laughs or shouts at her, and also she doesn't cry or beg the town-beadle. While Ester is standing on the scaffold she sees her life flashing before her eyes; and this is the expedient used by Hawthorne to describe her past life while staying in the present. He also describes the town where she used to live, full of roughly- hewn streets, and the old house back in England (where Hester was born) which was a grey stoned one; once it used to be a noble house as testified by the shield of arms over the portal.