While drawing on the resources of the new biblical "narratology, " this reading of 1 Samuel diverges from the mainstream in fundamental ways. It pretends to no ideological neutrality, but espouses a "critical narratology" informed by such cultural practices as feminism and psychoanalysis. It follows a structuralist tradition which finds meaning more in the text's large-scale mythic patterns than in close reading of particular passages. It seeks methods specific to 1 Samuel rather than ones applicable to biblical narrative in general. Organizing the text through the three interlocking thematic fields of class, race, and gender, the author asks how such a canonical book may function in a modern context where these themes continue to be of crucial importance.