The Narrow Corner, xiv

In college, a professor held up a textbook and showed us all his marks on the page. “This is what it looks like to read and consider a text,” he said. Reading The Narrow Corner, I mark it up quite a bit. This chapter doesn’t have many marks, just a couple. One about being tolerant of other people’s vices, the other about the doctor being amused at the fugitive’s lack of understanding regarding human nature. The doctor has become rather literate in it, the young fugitive not so much. This chapter has the most with the fugitive, Fred Blake, so far in the book. He and the doctor have a long talk about fear and about a person’s place in the world. There’s a sweetness to the doctor, which may or may not have its own motivations, but a sweetness nonetheless. There’s a lot of dialogue, well-written but mostly expository, and some brief description of the setting. Maugham seems to be enjoying writing the book more steadily now. No bumps, just smooth sailing (monsoon or not).

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