The gloomy portrayal, reflexive of the puritan society in chapter one of the Scarlet Letter, was formed by Nathaniel Hawthorne to not only foreshadow events in the novel, but to also unveil the thematic idea of social rejection and Hawthorne's own spurn of social conformity and idealism. Through the usage of imagery, mood, tone, focality, and symbolism, the reader is able to firmly grasp the author's purpose by the composition of these literary elements.
Dispersed throughout chapter one are various descriptive phrases that enhance the sombre and monotonous mood presented by Hawthorne. In his description of the inhabitants of Boston, he depicts, "A throng of bearded men, in sad colored garments and gray…."(45). As suggested by this, the reader is clearly able to see the one-track society of the Puritans. "A throng of bearded men" conveys a sense of uniformity amongst the early Bostonians, a sea of likeness in which no particular individual stands out.
Through Hawthorne's focality of the prison, the plot is yet furthur enhanced. His repetitious referrals to the prison display the ideals of the Puritan society, where deviation is often punishable by imprisonment, and how socially unacceptable actions were weighted heavily upon the "do-er" of the deed. Apparently some time ago, a woman by the name of Anne Hutchinson was condemned to the prison for some unsaid reason. However, it is not Anne Hutchinson herself that is important; it is the principle in which she symbolizes that Hawthorne parallels to the story.