The Narrow Corner, xii

There’s a funeral this chapter, but it’s more about Maugham looking at class, race, and death. The doctor, in his passive cynicism, tries to imagine the dead’s life, often in quite lovely detail. Maugham can do succinct description, no doubt. The captain, however, sees Christianity as the great equalizer—regardless of how he treats someone in their life, based on their class, based on their race, so long as their death is treated with reverence, it’s all good. It’s something of a strange chapter, as the doctor is aware of all these deep thoughts but doesn’t get into the feelings associated with them. The captain gets into the feelings, not the thoughts. There’s also a bit of cultural contrast—west vs. east—Maugham gets in. I don’t even think the accenting bothered me much. It’s not a fun chapter, probably not even going to play a major part in the narrative (the fugitive is a bit player), but it’s one Maugham’s worked on to get right.

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