Today I am going to share with you my thought about a story I’ve read recently. It’s “The Escape” by William Somerset Maugham and strongly recommend you to read it if not yet!
The story is written by a famous English writer, William Somerset Maugham. He was not only a novelist, but also a one of the most successful dramatist and short-story writers of the 20th century.
The events are described through the eyes of the narrator. The setting of the story is quite obscure, as we have no concrete date or place of the story’s actions, but a writer imagines a story to be happening in a place that is rooted in his or her mind, so we can easily guess that Maugham describes the first part of the 20th century. “The Escape” starts with the author’s monologue about marriage: “I have always been convinced that if a woman once made up her mind to marry a man nothing but instant flight could save him”. Judging by this quotation we can easily guess that the story is about the relationships of men and women.
The plot of the story is quite easy but extremely captivating. The protagonist of the story, Roger Charing, fell in love with Ruth Barlow with splendid dark eyes. She was an unfortunate woman, twice a widow, and Maugham’s characteristic of her is rather vivid: “She never had a little lamb but it was sure to die”. At first they were a happy loving couple, their marriage was announced for the immediate future. But the Roger suddenly fell out of love. It was awkward for him to jilt Ruth and he made up a perfect scheme to extricate. He promised her that they would be married as soon as they found a house that suited them. But Roger rejected all the orders of the agents offering a new house. At last Ruth lost her patience and left Roger herself.
There is no direct character-vs-character conflict. There is an internal psychological conflict within Roger. The subject matter of the story is that men and women have different approaches to relationship. On the one hand, Roger doesn’t love Ruth and has to scheme against her to avoid marriage. On the other hand, analyzing Ruth’s letter we can say that she doesn’t love him either. Her motives to marry Roger are quite obvious and they are connected with Roger’s financial position for sure. In fact, they both have to kept their own counsel, to pretend being in love with each other.