You do know that a story is a story is a story, and that you are not supposed to get indignant over how a narrator chooses to narrate in the story he tells. Therefore, to confuse narrator and author is debased enough, but to confuse author for the man is just as grotesque in its conception. What then must a reader do?
I read, therefore, I am . . . how is this not the first statement in a first philosophy, the latter itself a category of fiction, no? You can see where this is heading, and what it has to say about what it is we do when we read, attempt to read, hopefully avoid superficially skimming the pages, exactly what Melville insisted Hawthorne’s texts were composed to undermine, yes, deceive the superficial skimmer of texts, was what he said Hawthorne’s writing was designed to do.
What then has this writing done, and what do you imagine it has in its designs? This then will tell you what you need to know because you imagine you need to know something, but understand that this is one thing if it were non-fiction, and quite another now that you know it is fiction and I am a creation of my creator (and I do not wish to give you any sense of a divinely inspired cosmogony). You will do what you will; this I have no control over.