Mr. Know-All

In: English and Literature

Submitted By rookookoo
Words 1049
Pages 5
Analysis of “Mr. Know-All” by Somerset Maugham

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) is a British novelist, playwright and short story writer, who was the highest paid author in the world in the 1930s. His fiction was not accepted in Britain, like it was internationally. He studied in England and qualified as a doctor, but abandoned medicine for his literary career. He lived in Paris for ten years and published his first novel “Of Human Bondage” in 1915. He was a volunteer for the Red Cross during WWI. Maugham is best known for his urbanity, his wit, his controlled sense of writing, and his ability to describe not only objectively but also so realistically that he has been accused of lifting stories directly from life. He is known as a master of the surprise or twist ending to an inextricably woven plot in his short stories, many of which have been converted to film.

Genre – a social short story

The conflict of the story is that one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

The main characters: the narrator, Mr. Kelada, Mr. Ramsay, Mrs. Ramsay

The story takes place in international waters on an ocean going liner sailing from San Fracisco, U.S.A to Yokohama, Japan on the Pacific Ocean. As the war had just ended, it was difficult to get accomodations. Therefore, the narrator had to share a cabin with a total stranger, but he expected him to be one of his own countrymen. Instead, he was deeply shocked to realize it was a chatty Levantine of oriental origin, Mr. Max Kelada, who was not British, but a native of one of the British colonies (he did have a British passport). Although his origin isn't stated precisely, his name suggests Spanish, Portugese, Syrian or even Jewish origin. The narrator mentions Mr. Kelada's "hooked nose", which might imply an antisemitic remark against Jews.
The narrator was prepared to dislike…...

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