Of Human Bondage

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In his foreword of Of Human Bondage, William Somerset Maugham narrated how the novel came to be. He explained that one day he was assaulted by the memories of his past. He grew restless and he knew he had to do something about it. And he just thought that the only way to be free from the past was to write it. He quit the theatre for two years and put the story that would not let him rest on paper. He wrote about Philip Carey, a club-foot boy that was orphaned at the early age of nine. He stated that it was an autobiographical novel, a combination of both reality and fiction, to which he owed to the fact that, “The emotions are my own.” Many parallel situations in their lives were presented in the novel such as their losses, their relatives, deformities, attitude, travels, careers, and masochistic tendencies. The likeness is striking but one may wonder how much of it is true. In the beginning of the novel, Philip was shown as a young boy of nine who had just been woken up by a servant girl to take him up to his mother’s room. He was still too young to understand the meaning of what’s happening in his surroundings. His mother was dying and he was about to become an orphan. It is not farfetched when it is compared to Maugham’s childhood. Maugham was eight when his mother died of Tuberculosis in 1882. And two years later, his father died with cancer. Maugham admitted later that his mother was one of the reasons why he wrote the novel. He wanted to be cleansed of his grief. But even on his ninetieth birthday, he wasn’t rid of that feeling. Both Philip and Maugham suffered the loss of their parents at an early age. It also suggests that both of them lived through hard times alone in such a young age and how the repercussions of that incident affected them for the rest of their lives. When his mother died, Philip, being an only child, was sent to Blackstable to stay with his father’s brother, Uncle William and Aunt Louisa. William Carey was the Vicar of Blackstable....
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