Roth is so thorough! He delves deeply into characters other authors might pull in to play their part and then quickly dismiss, but he explores them only insofar as they contribute to the answers to the questions. Deep background and psyche.The Human Stain's questions are all about identity: the limits society foists upon individuals as they try to chart their course and how one acts within those constraints or shakes them off entirely. Even when the chosen paths are disastrous and obviously so from the start, Roth provides a foundation for the decisions. It takes pretty deep sympathy for widely divers characters for Roth to make his creations relateable.