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The Force of Circumstance – William Maugham
Summary


Contents

1.       Summary: 1

2.       Description of Guy: 2

3.       Arguments Guy mentions to justify his former relationship to the Malay woman: 2

4.       Description of Doris: 3

5.       The settlement: 3

6.       Doris feelings about Guy and his relationship with a Malay woman: 4

7.       Important topics of the story: 4

8.       “The Force of Circumstances “– The meaning. 5

9.       The author: William Somerset Maugham 5

10.     Hints in the text, which foreshadow the crisis. 6

1.   Summary:

“The Force of Circumstance” is a story written by William Somerset Maugham in 1928. It's about Guy, a colonizer who is in charge of a little outstation in the Malay Archipelago and his wife Doris, an English woman he married recently.

They get to know each other during a month's holiday at the English seaside. After the short time Doris and Guy spend together, he asks her to marry him and she agrees. He takes her to live with him at the outstation. They enjoy their honeymoon and the first four months of their marriage in Sembulu.

But then Guy tells her about the Malay woman he has lived with for years. When Doris gets to know about that, she asks him to give her time to think about all that and locks herself up in their sleeping room. The next morning she decides that she will need more time to handle her feelings: She asks Guy to give her six months to ponder everything.

But at the end of the time, she is determined to leave nevertheless. Guy lets her go and at the same day the Malay woman is allowed to return to his house.


2.   Description of Guy:

He was born in Sembulu, where his father served thirty years under the reign of the second Sultan. When he finished school he decided to do the same service. He loves Sembulu and the country and speaks the language of the natives as if it .....[read full text]

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She devotedly loves Guy, because of his personality. He is able to make her laugh. She is intrigued by the Malay woman and her little baby and seems to perceive everything which happens around her. She is ambitious and tries to learn the Malay language as soon as possible.


5.   The settlement:

Somewhere in the jungle in the Malay Archipelago:

Things one should know:

·        Southeast Asia is also known as Indochina

·        Rice is the most important crop and the primary source of nutrition

·        area of many religious beliefs: Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and Hinduism

·        More Muslims live there than in any other nation

·        An archipelago is a group of islands


6.   Feelings, Doris develops when she finds out that Guy had a relationship with a Malay woman:

·        she is sad, disappointed, disillusioned

·        She feels insecure and betrayed

·        She is wounded, disgusted and heartbroken

·        she is humiliated and insulted + offended

·        she is hurt, upset and irritated

·        His touch is odious to her

·        She thinks it is loathsome

·        .....

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Guy mentions the reason for his relationship to be daily routine and the loneliness a white man experiences within natives.

Another topic is additionally the contrast between the experience of an untouched and impenetrable nature, tropical wilderness and civilization.

8.   “The Force of Circumstances “– The meaning

Guy                      pressure of loneliness                   he lives with a Malay girl

Malay woman       → pressure of property                     → she becomes Guy's mistress

Guy                      → pressure of society                        → marries a British woman

Doris                    → an unexpected emotion                 → she accepts Guy's proposal of marriage

Malay woman       → responsibility for her family          → she wants to return to Guy

Doris                    → inexplicable emotions                   → leaves Guy and returns to England

Guy                      → pressure of being alone again        → he calls the Malay woman to come back


9.   The author: William Somerset Maugham

·        Born in the British Embassy (Botschaft)  in Paris

·        He started his literary career as a playwright. Although he was the highest-paid author of the world in the 1930s, he is not acknowledged as one of the major authors in England.

·        His father was a famous attorney (Bevo.....

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