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In The Hamlet Labove is the child of a poor family in "the next county" (114). After working his way through the University of Mississippi doing menial jobs and playing football, he is hired to be the schoolmaster in Frenchman's Bend. Faulkner initially describes him as "gaunt, with straight black hair coarse as a horse's tail and high Indian cheekbones and quiet pale hard eyes and the long nose of thought but with the slightly curved nostrils of pride and the thin lips of secret and ruthless ambition" (117). He possesses "a forensic face," moreover, "the face of invincible conviction in the power of words as a principle worth dying for if necessary." Labove is above all a misanthrope, a man who would in past ages have been a monk, "a militant fanatic" ready to turn his "uncompromising back upon the world" (117). Despite and perhaps because of his monastic isolation and disinterest in the people around him, Labove becomes obsessed with Varner's young daughter, Eula.

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