by S. Maugham
A story of overweening ambition "The Taipan" tells of an eponymous central character living in Shanghai during colonial times who is extremely satisfied with life. He has plenty of money, a taste for liquor and good food, a successful business, an overweening sense of superiority (he has lasted longer than most expatriates in China, despite his gargantuan appetite), and an unshakeable conviction that he had at last "beaten them all" - in other words, his rivals. He is an Englishman, but he is not going to visit his motherland. He has two sisters and supports only family relationship with them. Now, when he is a rich man, he considers himself far above them. He can afford himself anything and can do not deny in anything. However the calm of his world is abruptly shattered when he passes the local cemetery to find two coolies digging a new grave. Unable to communicate with them in Chinese, he cannot discover who it is intended for. Despite numerous enquiries amongst the expat community as well as the locals, no one can help him, and he becomes haunted by the belief that it is actually his own grave. Only then he starts making every effort to return to Britain. He doesn’t want to die in the foreign country, only now he wants to stay in his land. But unfortunately dies of a heart attack before he can do so.
A story with a clear moral - pride comes before a fall - "The Taipan" captured the arrogance of many Britons who spent their lives abroad during the period of empire. It would be nice to report that attitudes have changed, now that Britain has lost its status as a world power.
Telling about characters I would like to say, that he is not a protagonist, but at the same time my tongue is not rotated to say that he is a complete antagonist. The main character is an Englishman who lives in Shanghai for more than 30 years. He certainly achieved a great things and he really proud of it. Also he proud of that many of expatriates...
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