?The Force of Circumstances

Published: 2020-05-27 23:16:07
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The Force of Circumstance” is written by W. Somerset Maugham and takes place in Borneo (British colony), however, the district is unclear but there are uses of exotic setting in the essay such as, mountains and rivers which indicates that the story takes place in a far and exotic country. It is about the end of a marriage between two people: Doris, an English girl and Guy, a man from Sembulu.
Guy is 29 years old, and works for British colonial service; however, the nature of Guy is described as a funny, fat and happy guy who makes people laugh and not as handsome whereas Doris, Guy’s wife is good-looking, young, and full of hope and used to be secretary of British Member of Parliament. Doris was a secretary to a member of parliament…” (p. 3, l. 6-7) She recently moved into her new house and they seemed to be very happy until Guy admits the truth regarding a native woman that he has lived with for the past 10 years, and have three children with her.
However, it was difficult for Doris to accept the fact that her husband belonged to someone else with three children, so she decided to leave the hours and Guy. As she left, the native women entered the house with her children. After briefly introducing the summary, I will like to address some important part of the story which is the feelings, the relationships amongst the characters including the force of circumstances. There are three main characters in the story. Maugham portraits his character with few and effective words and uses the literary tool deliberately and consciously.
To begin with, Doris is a typical English woman with typical behavior. There is a huge amount of evidence in the story which indicates that this insistence to her nation’s habits can create in her deep homesickness, which combines with a strong loneliness too. The first bit to point out is when Doris is waiting for her husband and where she expresses her loneliness: I loved the country at once, although I’m alone so much I don’t think I’ve ever once felt lonely. ” (p. 6, l 32-33) on the other hand the last example to be mentioned is when Doris is full of pain and talked to Guy and said: I know what the loneliness is here.
Now the second character, which has to be mentioned, is Guy. He can be seen with Doris` eyes. He is a round man, with red face like a moon and blue eyes…. ” and he was a guy, jolly little man, who took nothing very solemnly, and he was constantly laughing”(p. 2, l. 13-14, and (p. 2, l. 19-20). However, Doris love for Guy was in such a level that she was ready to sacrifice everything for him, which she did for example, she left her widowed mother and shifted to a foreign country, on the other hand in return Guy had to accept her wife’s English customs.
Furthermore the third person who has to be addressed is the native Malay woman who has been pointed out indirectly for the collapse of Doris and Guy’s marriage life. Malay woman has appeared numerous of times in between their lives in order to make Guy confess the truth, and this happened the fourth time she tried, however, this indicates that she was a selfish women who did not consider or paid any attention to Doris, and the only matter she considered was her own happiness and to achieve her old lifestyle with Guy.
I have to mention that in spite of being a man, Maugham portrays the tangles and the untold risk of woman’s soul very well. The more the native appeared the more things went worst. At first merely small sign referred to trouble. For example the man’s smile changed, it became hypocritical sometimes Guy did not answer at all. With the time, Guy became tense, frustrated and anxious; however, occasionally Doris did notice these signs on him, but most of the time she was unaware (page 9). The moment she realized that there was something wrong was in the last moment only.
The Title of the story has to be described here as it refers to the circumstance which was mentioned in Guy’s ‘plea agreement’. It is a fantastic, effective and very meaningful title, which underlines the focus in only three words. However, the question that puts a question mark on the whole story is that what is the force of circumstances exactly? First of all Guy considered only Sembulu as his home, which indicates that he could not accept himself in any other part of the world, and that was the reason he convinced Doris to go with him to Sembulu.
After all England’s a foreign land to me”, he told her. My home’s Sembulu. ”(p. 3, l. 12-131) Secondly Guy was a smiling young man who could not stand loneliness; however, his own boy, Abdul who introduced a native girl to Guy so he could spend his free time with her, and he happily accepted the offer and was even ready to pay for it. …he said that if I’d like to have a girl to come and live with me he knew one who was willing. ”…It wouldn’t cost me very much money, he said, her people were poor and they’d be quite satisfied with a small present”.
Thirdly Guy was surrounded in such a society that where a man can wake up in the social ladder if he marries a white woman. Guy obeyed this tradition and decided to leave for England to marry a white woman. However, it is difficult to judge Guys love, because the only sign of his feelings where when a single drop of tear dropped down when he left the native woman. In other hand it is another question mark why did Guy retuned back to his old lifestyle right away? Will this indicate to a new force of circumstances?
Finally the real reason behind Doris decision to leave her husband, admitted only just before the end, and lies in the conventional pattems of colonial thought, specifically the demonization of natives who are supposed to contaminate everything they touch. This behavior of Doris verifies the view that woman were less capable to familiarize to the otherness of life in the colonies. It’s a physical thing, I can’t help it, it’s stronger than I am. I think of those thin black arms of hers round you and it fills me with a physical nausea. I think of you holding those little black babies in your arms.
Oh, it’s loathsome. The touch of you is odious to me. ” (P. 24, l. 21-24) Beside the circumstances there are two necessary forces which have to be concentrated on. They differ from each because of sexual difference such as, woman and man. As a man, Guy it is much easy to forget the past whereas for a woman it is near to impossible to forget and very painful, however, in most cases man can happily accept the fact that they have children with another woman whereas for a woman it is very difficult to accept that her husband have been sexual attach with another woman.
When I see the woman and her children in the village I just feel my legs shaking. Everything in this house; when I think of that bed I slept in it gives me goose-flesh.. You don’t know what I’ve endured.  In other hand there are cultural difference between Guy and Doris, which can make it difficult to have the right understanding for each other, as they belong to different countries with different preferences with different norms and values.

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