William Somerset Maugham
The Round Dozen
English IV AP
The life of William Somerset Maugham laid the introduction to many of his novels, plays, or short stories. His experiences growing up and traveling the world were the base for his work At the young age of ten, Maugham became an orphan and was sent to live with a religious uncle and lived a life that revolved around school that eventually led him to be a qualified doctor. These childhood experiences were the base for his first novel “Of Human Bondage” that follows the life of a child from childhood to manhood. The character is an orphan left to be raised by a religious aunt and uncle who put him through school where he eventually becomes a doctor. Eventually Maugham became a spy for England in Russia during the Russian revolution. The experiences and events that Maugham saw worked there way onto paper. Maugham is thought as the first to write a modern day spy story, but his health conflicted with his spy career and caused him to follow a different path, where he would travel across Asia, the Pacific Islands, and Mexico as a missionary. The people that he met along the way were used to develop characters for his later stories. Due to the sites of his travels many of his stories are set in Asia, Europe, or Mexico. The experiences and travels of this one man were enough to fill many novels, plays, and short stories; some even made it as far as the silver screen. The Verger
The struggles to keep who you are and still please others is one that Maugham displays in “The Verger”. Albert Edward Foreman must choose between learning how to read and write, which would eventually change his character but keep him with a job, or stick to what he believes and what he believes he is. Maugham uses the motif of illiteracy and success to display the unraveling emotions of the character and the somber tone. Foreman, who is warned that his illiteracy is not acceptable at the “fashionable” St. Peter’s Neville Square, must choose to either learn to read and write or be fired. The vicar, who does not take Foreman seriously, thinks that Foreman’s illiteracy will disgrace the church and its high social class attendants. When talking to the vicar about the reason for his dismissal he is told that the church does not want to deal problems that might arise due “to [his] lamentable ignorance”. The idea that Foreman cannot read leads the vicar to think that this will then affect Foreman’s ability to do his job. Since Foreman no longer has a job he must to create something of himself, he decides that he will become a tobacconist and open a shop, which eventually builds into an “important business”. Having to get work elsewhere finally leads Foreman to prove to the community that he is able to be successful even without being able to read or write. The amount that Foreman earned while he was a tobacconist “amassed a fortune” in the ten years after he was fired. Even after Foreman was fired he was able to make do and eventually become economically stable without having to change his character or learn anything new. Foreman’s new accomplishments surprised the community and caused them to believe that it was the “most extraordinary thing” that had happened in society. Foreman was finally able to over come the difficulties his illiteracy caused and look like a success in the eyes of the community. The unraveling emotions of Foreman are so unbearable that he must turn to smoking cigarettes to relieve the pressure of the news of his job loss. Although Foreman is a “non-smoker and total abstainer” he realizes that he would “enjoy a cigarette” to relieve the stress and discomfort of losing his job. In the time of stress the cigarette for Foreman would do much help to calm his nerves even though he is not a smoker. The one cigarette “would comfort him” and help him clear his mind helping him be more attuned to what...
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