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Of Human Bondage: The Women In Philip Carey's Life

898 words - 4 pages

Of Human Bondage by William Somerset Maugham The Women in Philip's life In the novel Of Human Bondage, the main character, Philip Carey, has a myriad of people whom are very influential in his life. William Somerset Maugham portrays Philip as having three women in his life that are of great importance to Philip's character. These three women are Mildred Rogers, Norah Nesbit, and Sally Athelny. Mildred is a negative influence on Philip whereas the other two women serve as positive influences in Philip's life. Of the three, Philip loves Mildred the most, though Mildred loves him not.Mildred is a negative influence on Philip. Though he loves her, she doesn't love him back. She is grateful toward Philip and rewards him with various degrees of affection. This forebodes the fact that she becomes a prostitute later on in the novel. While with Philip, Mildred distracts him from studying and causes him to spend all his money to take her out to eat and see musicals. This causes Philip to fail his two very important medical examinations. Mildred is a snobby, stupid, callous, shallow, vain, and selfish woman. Aware of Philip's feelings for her, she takes advantage of him. She accepts his gifts and seeks his protection, but thwarts his affection. Philip forgives her for her deceitfulness and helps her when she is in trouble. In return for Philip's love, kindness and generosity, she gives him pain, abuse, and misery. She proves her heartless nature when she runs away with Emil Miller, has an affair with Griffiths, and destroys Philip's home. She also abandons her infant to the care of a stranger in order to enjoy life. This demonstrates her selfish nature. Mildred seems to be Philip's foil. They're so different from one another that Mildred doesn't even understand Philip. Philip's generosity, kindness, and love cannot be understood by such a selfish, vicious, hateful woman. It's a wonder how Philip is bonded to this human anti-epitome. Philip chose Mildred because she is the type of woman that was a challenge for him. He had just begun medical school and was feeling bored when suddenly he came upon this ill-mannered slut of a waitress in a tea shop. From that moment on, he couldn't get enough of her. He always tried to get back at her but never quite could. It was as if he was doomed to spend the rest of his life bonded to her. It was too much to bear for him. Her indifferent attitude toward him drove him mad over the brink of obsession. He tortured himself to try and get a woman that he could never have...

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