What is the narrative structure of Faulkner's The Hamlet?
Faulkner constructs The Hamlet as a series of related, often overlapping stories rather than a tight narrative structure. To tie the story together, he uses some of the same characters in more than one story, especially V.K. Ratliff, who narrates much of the book after the fact. Faulkner also emphasizes certain themes throughout the book, such as inappropriate lust. In one story, the schoolteacher lusts after Eula Varner; in another Ike is in love with a cow. While very different, both are clearly inappropriate, and both are disturbing, as the schoolteacher's view of Eula makes clear:
By merely walking down the aisle between them she would transform the very wooden benches and benches themselves into a grove of Venus, and fetch every male in the room...springing into embattled rivalry...
In another example of thematic consistency, when Flem Snopes marries the high-lusted after Eula, he does so not out of sexual attraction. In fact, he ignores her, preferring instead to pursue money. Zack Houston and Lucy Pate, on the other hand, fall deeply in love after a brief period of passion, and build a strong relationship that only ends with Lucy's death. Themes of trade and transaction also run throughout each story, with Flem at the center of many of them.
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