Mr. Know All by W. Somerset Maugham

Topics: British Empire, English people, English language Pages: 2 (555 words) Published: April 10, 2013
The setting: Where?International waters on an ocean-going liner sailing from San Francisco,
USA, to Yokohama, Japan, on the Pacific ocean.
When?Post-World war I (after 1918).

"I did not like Mr. Kelada” - Why?

Before their first meeting:
His name (Max Kelada) – not English, indicates middle-eastern origin (“I should have looked upon it with less dismay if my fellow passenger's name had been Smith or Brown”). The look of his luggage – too many labels on the suitcases, the wardrobe trunk was too big. His prestigious toiletries – filthy (“would have been all the better for a scrub”).

After they meet:
His body language – exuberant gestures – not English (not reserved / polite: “took out of his pocket a passport and airily waved it under my nose”). His persistent attempts to prove that he is British, even though his origin is probably from one of the British colonies of that time – "I was jolly glad when I heard you were English. I'm all for us English sticking together when we're abroad”. "British to the backbone, that's what I am”.

"took out of his pocket a passport and airily waved it under my nose”.. "Union Jack is an impressive piece of drapery, but when it is flourished by a gentleman from Alexandria or Beirut, I cannot but feel that it loses somewhat in dignity”. His manner of speaking – fluent, enthusiastic, without any self control (“He spoke with a fluency in which there was nothing English”). His behavior –

Chatty, informal and too familiar: “it is seemly n a total stranger to put mister before my name when he addresses me. Mr. Kelada... used no such formality”. Tactless, rude, impolite: he interferes with the narrator's patience game (“There is nothing more exasperating when you are playing patience than to be told where to put the card you have turned up before you have had a chance to look for yourself”). He makes the narrator watch card games even though the narrator declares he hates them. Pushy: “He was everywhere and...
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