WARNING: Spoiler ahead. I have "inviso-texted" the following paragraph, since it deals with an important plot spoiler. If you would like to read this paragraph, please use your cursor to highlight the text between the asterisks; otherwise, just move on, my friend.
I'm especially interested in the way that Hawthorne treats the character of Arthur Dimmesdale. I remembered from last time that he was Hester's partner in sin, so I didn't experience the shock of figuring that out as I read this time. But Hawthorne drops that information in with such subtle pervasiveness, I had to wonder when I would have realized it if I hadn't already known. There are several subtle clues along the way, and they grow stronger and stronger, until -- without ever saying anything quite explicit -- the conclusion becomes inescapable.
I'm also struck by the simplicity of the story. The plot involves so little -- so few characters, so few twists and turns -- but at the same time it is a deeply complex novel, dealing with deeply complex themes of the human experience.
Oh, and there's also the question of onomastics and reference, which I've been really interested in lately. There is so much characterization that an author can sneak in with this seemingly harmless technique, just by the choice of what to call his characters and what to have his characters call each other. I'd like to do a short paper about this sometime soon, probably using some short stories of James Thurber's. But I've found it very interesting in SL as well -- for example, Chillingworth is almost exclusively referred to as "old Roger Chillingworth". And the narrator so rarely refers to anyone by just their first name, except for Pearl.
We all love to instruct, though we can teach only what is not worth knowing. (20 points)