Pan has a rather complex narrative structure. It is a first-person novel in which the main part of the story is told by the narrator-protagonist, Glahn, two years after the events that are being narrated took place. The main part is followed by an epilogue, also in the first person, in which the story of Glahn’s death is told by an unnamed hunting companion.
The main story takes place in northern Norway during the summer months of the year 1855. Glahn, a lieutenant who has obtained leave from his commission, is living a rather primitive life as a hunter and fisherman in a forest cabin near the trading post Sirilund. He is tired of civilization, he says, and has left behind the norms of cultured society, being unable to get along well with cultivated people. In narrating his story, Glahn tells both about the external events of his life out in the wilderness and about his reflections on existence, and it is clear that he is trying to become an artist.
During visits to the trading post, Glahn becomes acquainted with Edvarda, the daughter of the trader Mack. Being attracted to her both because of her social position and for her own sake, he tries to win her, but Edvarda is emotionally unpredictable, and a love-hate relationship, in which they take turns torturing each other, develops. Glahn also enters into a sexual relationship with Eva, who, despite her marriage to the local blacksmith, is the mistress of Edvarda’s father, Mack,...
(The entire section is 551 words.)