The Narrow Corner, xiii

It’s a combination of an action and an introspection chapter. The ship is stuck in a monsoon and the doctor is the only one onboard who is scared. Maugham spends a lot of the chapter describing the monsoon and its effects; all in good, active detail. There’s none of the second person, which is a little strange—the second person descriptions of the sea invite the reader to imagine their participation, these close third person observations of the doctor invite the reader to imagine his state of mind, to experience his experiences. There are some nice observations of the captain—at his element in dangerous waters—and then some wonderful moments with a cribbage game going on in the background. The Narrow Corner is close third on the doctor, but Maugham doesn’t ignore the texture third allows him to add. The chapter ends with the doctor getting nice and high on opium, sharing it with Ah Kay, his servant, apparently smoking in unison for the first time. It’s touching.

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