Larry Darrel is a young man who seeks for the meaning of life by forsaking wealth, security, and personal relationships. He does not show any kind of materialism obsession, however, he addicts into the spiritual life. Larry leads an intellectual lifestyle by reading book, attending lectures, traveling around the world, and learning and experiencing different religions. Overall, he is an idealist who seeks for the absolutely spiritual happiness. Like Larry explains to Maugham: “Money is nothing to us; it’s merely the symbol of success. We are the greatest idealists in the world; I happen to think that we’ve set our ideal on the wrong objects; I happen to think that the greatest ideal man can set before himself is self-perfection” (278). In this novel, Larry is a perfect man. Elliott Templeton is an art collector, and has a totally different lifestyle, aims and personalities from Larry. He is very prejudiced about social classes, for instance once he told Maugham: “believe me, my dear fellow…there’ll be none of this damned equality in heaven” (236). So he is very nice to noble people, and he despises the ordinary people who he considers unimportant and powerless. The goal of Elliott’s life is to be respected and renowned. He loves hosting famous, rich and interesting parties, the last thing he did in his life was to refuse an invitation. However, Elliott is nice to his family members, for example he traveled a long way to talk to his sister when she was sick. He provided Isabel and her family a shelter and a stable financial assistance when she left nothing after the stock market crash. Although Larry and Elliott seek different purposes in their lives, they all obtain happiness at the end each in their own way. Elliott was invited to a grand party before he died, and Larry finds true spiritual happiness. I think we can’t say who is better, admittedly, Elliott is a snob who loves money deeply and wish to be respected, but it is this kind of men that push...
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