The Happy Man Essay

1219 words - 5 pages

Text Analysis "The Happy Man"The author of the extract under analysis is a well-known English novelist, short-story writer, playwright and essayist. Maugham's education happened at the King's School in Canterbury and Heidelberg University, Germany, before he went on to study medicine at St Thomas's Hospital in London. But his hobby was literature and theatre. Great success as a novelist came with "Of Human Bondage" (1915) which was autobiographical in all but the names he chose. All his best novels are written about artists: in "The Moon and Sixpence" (1919), "Cakes and Ale" (1932) and "Theatre" (1937). Somerset Maugham was also a master of the short story. He could convey human relationships and feelings with a startling reality.The text under analysis is a short story The Happy Man. The title of the story reveals its subject matter, but it is only when we have read the whole story we understand what underlies this title.At the beginning of the story the author tells us that the narrator didn't like to give advices. The narrator thought about life and showed his attitude to the whole life. He said that he didn't know anything of others. But then the narrator remembered that once he had advised well. Once a man, a total stranger, came to him and ask him for a piece of advice. He wanted to know if he would have any chance to have a job in Spain. The narrator said that if he wasn't worried about money, he would be success. 15 years later the narrator happened to be in Servile. He had some in disposition and went to an English doctor. It turned out that this doctor was Stephens. He was happy in Spain. And thanked the narrator a lot.The central idea is not stated directly in the text. Happiness is something that you can achieve only by yourself. And Stephens proved it.The text can be divided into 3 parts: a philosophical part with author's reflections about life, a dialogue between the narrator and Stephens in narrator's London apartment and a lyrical and the 3rd part - about 15 years later in Seville, Spain.The 1st part is a monologue of the author. Here we see the narrator`s negative attitude to giving advice. The author expresses his thoughts using a lot of stylistic devices: a parallel construction mixed with gradation: heaven knows, I know little of myself: I know nothing of others. The author gives a lot of arguments for supporting his point of view. He used extended metaphors : Each one of us is a prisoner in a solitary tower. Life is a difficult business and I have found it hard enough to make my own a complete and rounded thing. There are men who flounder at the journey`s start, the way before them is confused and hazardous, and an occasion, however unwillingly, I have been forced to point the finger of fate. I have seen myself for a moment wrapped in the dark cloak of Destiny. The author uses a wide range of rhetorical questions: how can one advise another how to act unless one knows that other as well as one knows himself? Who am I that I...

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