The Force of Circumstance, by William Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) by jonS5h


									The Force of Circumstance, by William Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)
Malaya (Malayan Archipelago, Malaysia, South East Asia), 1920s

   Guy: 29 years old, works for British colonial service, funny, likes to laugh and can
      make people laugh, fat, not handsome, newlywed
   Doris: young, used to be secretary of British member of parliament, good-looking,
      Guy’s wife, full of hope, newlywed
   Guy’s Malayan wife

Brief summary
Doris, the young wife of Guy, a colonial civil servant in the service of a local sultan, has only
recently arrived at her new home at an outpost in Borneo. Their marriage seems to be perfect
until Guy confesses to her that he has lived with a native woman for ten years and is the father
of three children. Although Doris understands and can forgive him (rationally) there is an
irrational element, something physical, that stands in the way of a reunion. She can’t tolerate
the idea of a black woman having been in her place before. Doris finally leaves Guy for good
and he allows the native woman immediately to resume her place.

Main themes
   Going native / hybridity (culture mixing and its consequences)
   Daily life in colonies
   British women in colonies
   Views on natives
   Exotic scenery

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