AD's English Literature : Short Questions From William Somerset Maugham's ‘The Lotus Eater’

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Short Questions From William Somerset Maugham's ‘The Lotus Eater’

 Q what is the Greek mythological story associated with the title The Lotus Eater’?

Ans: In Greek mythology, Odyssey IX, 84.  the Lotophagi ("lotus-eaters") were a race of people on an island dominated by lotus plants. The lotus flowers were the primary foodstuff of the island and it caused the people to sleep in peaceful apathy. When Odysseus and his men landed on the island of the lotus-eaters, they began doing as the natives did, eating the lotus flowers. This caused them to sleep and stop caring about ever going home. Finally, Odysseus managed to rescue himself from the apathy and set sail.
Q.What is the theme of William Somerset Maugham's ‘The Lotus Eater’?

Ans: Somerset Maugham’s The Lotus Eater  is set in 1913 and is of a man Thomas Wilson who comes to the island of Capri in Italy for a holiday. He is so enchanted with the place he gives up his job at London and decides to live the rest of his life without any cares in a mythical lotus eater he settles a life of oblivion.

Q: Sketch the character of Thomas Wilson. Is the name ‘lotos-eater’ appropriate to him?

Ans. William
Somerset Maugham’s compelling short story ‘The Lotus Eater’ paints Thomas Wilson, the pivotal character of the story in minute analyses. A self retired English bank manager, Wilson,   made the Italian island Capri his own abode, bidding adieu the life of hardship. Capri was an island of superb sights and sounds so much so that Wilson would enjoy them heartily until the last day of his life. Like the mythical lotus eaters he led the life of oblivion and leisure. In that sense he is a lotos eater.
Q. critically comment on the last days of Wilson’s life.                                                          

Ans:   After the expiry of his annuity, Wilson fell on worst days and lost the will-power to carry his life any further. With no hopes to live for, Wilson once made an attempt to commit suicide. Though he survived the mortal attempt, he was no longer in his right mind. Then one fateful morning of a moonlit night, he was found lying on the mountainside with his eyes closed for ever.
Ans:Wilson had no future vision. He preferred a live of oblivious settle at Capri and argued that such a long years of 25 years were enough to enjoy a life. But he had no vision that after so long days’ of passivity would have crippled his will power and he remained a pity for others at his last days.

Q.What does the line mean "Still, that's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick" in the writing of Somerset Maugham?                                                                                            

 Ans:   In "The Lotus Eater," Wilson utters the phrase when he compares the twenty five years he will have on the island to the forty that "the mythical German" had after falling in love with Capri. Literally it just means something along the lines of "could be much worse.”   It also signifies the choice between something pretty good and something that sounds downright horrible.

Q.What is an example of narrative intrusion in the story and what is the purpose of it? Explain in context of William Somerset Maugham's ‘The Lotus Eater’.

Ans: An intrusive narrator interrupts the story to provide a commentary to the reader on some aspect of the story or on a more general topic. It is a kind of prologue to the story. It guides the readers about the purpose of the story.  In Somerset Maugham's story 'The Lotus Eater' we get such an example of narrative intrusion when the narrator describes his purpose of writing the story. It is the extraordinary life of Wilson whose life is not like a tram car. It is exceptional. This narrative intrusion in the opening of the novel makes the rest of the story redundant.                                      

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An English Teacher;    M. A.(English) , D. Ed., B. Ed., UGC- NET Qualified

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