Escape by W.S. Maugham

Topics: W. Somerset Maugham, Short story, Love Pages: 5 (1993 words) Published: March 31, 2013
By William Somerset Maugham
The text under interpretation is “Escape” by William Somerset Maugham. W. S. Maugham was a well-known English playwright, novelist and short story writer. He was the son of a British diplomat. He was educated at King`s school in Canterbury, studied painting in Paris, went to Heidelberg University in Germany and studied to be a doctor at St. Thomas Hospital in England. So, he put his hand in different activities and that`s why he is versatile and experienced person. S. Maugham was critical of the morals, the narrow-mindedness and hypocrisy of bourgeois society. Such novels as “Of Human Bondage”, “The Moon and the Sixpence”, “The Theatre” and others came under his pen. He was also the master of the short story. Among them are: “Colonel’s Lady”, “Friend in Need”, “Lion’s Skin”, etc. S. Maugham was among the most popular writers of his era, and reputedly, the highest paid author during the 1930s. Maugham’s style of writing is clear and precise. He doesn`t impose his views on the reader. He puts a question and leaves it to the reader to answer. I also like his revealing the weak sides and vices of human nature skilfully. His books are chatty and easy to read. This is clearly viewed from the given extract. “Escape” is a story about common people in common situation, and Maugham manages to tell it with the sense of humour and in a very interesting way. The essence of “The Escape”, to my mind, is that Roger and Ruth have diverse approaches towards the relations. Of course, the men and the women like the first step: flowers, attentiveness, passion. But then their paths diverge. The romance disappears, the man looks for the way out, he craves for new emotions, but the woman deems that the relations should develop into the marriage. And “The Escape” is the example of such a mismatch. The story can be logically divided into four main parts: the exposition, passages about Ruth’s and Roger’s love, Roger falls out of love and the break-up. The story has a straight line narrative structure with author’s digressions at the beginning.  I think that the beginning of the story serves as its subject matter, where the author recounts his point of view on marriage. He convinces us that if a woman once made her mind to marry a man nothing but instant flight could save him. As an example he told a case, which happened with one of his friends, who seeing the inevitable marriage menacing before him, took ship and spent a year traveling round the world. He hoped the woman would forget him, but was mistaken. When he got back thinking himself safe, the woman, from whom he had fled, was waiting for him on the quay. This funny thing supports the idea that the inevitable loom of the marriage frightens some men and they try to avoid it. It should be mentioned, that he describes that awkward situation very skilfully and in a very ironical way. It could be confirmed by some cases of irony, used by the narrator – “instant flight” and “inevitable loom menacing before him”, “escaped with only a toothbrush for all his luggage”, which show us fear and trembling of men before the difficulties of the marriage. Maugham establishes realistic setting to his piece of writing. As the author uses the first-person narrative structure we can guess that the narrator is the secondary character of the story. The main ones here are Roger Charing and Ruth Barlow. To describe them, Maugham uses the direct characterization. For example, he gives it when speaks about of Ruth’s eyes using the epithets (“splendid”, “moving”, “big and lovely”), a detached epithet (“poor dear”) – all in the ironic way. Further on the narrator says that he knows only one man who escaped successfully. Once upon a time his friend, Roger Charing told him he was going to marry. Roger was tall and handsome, rich, experienced middle-aged man. Of course, many women wanted to marry him. But he was happy to live the life of an unmarried man: the epithets “sufficient...
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