Throughout the novel there has been the question on what is true purity and how one regains it once they have lost it. The Puritan belief is that true purity is conformity to the community, and to sacrifice ones individuality for the community. Dimmsdale believed in the Puritanistic way of purity, therefore even though his punishment was private, he did this with the intention of benefiting the community over himself. Hester on the other hand experienced an extreme public punishment, and then decided that to punish herself was not necessary and she embraced her sin.
In the end of the novel Hester was then able to re-invent herself and regain her purity in her community, and even become someone people go to for help. Dimmsdale on the other hand died a regretful and unforgiving man. This shows that even though Hester went against her community in the sense of their beliefs, her individuals benefited her in the end giving her a sense of purity to herself, unlike Dimmsdale who will never have that peace with himself.