Georgia Southern University W Somerset Maugham Short Story Discussion

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QUESTION SET #1 (a through d) • Throughout this course, any question set not attemptedreceives a grade of zero. In addition, any response not presented as a complete sentence receivesa grade of zero, even if the content it contains is correct. Points are deducted for incorrect grammarand confusing expression. Carefully proof-read your work before submitting it.Most of this tale occurs on board a passenger ship operated by P & O: the Peninsular and OrientalSteam Navigation Company. As the story progresses, the vessel sails from the Far East towardsEurope. (1.a) In which Oriental (i.e. Eastern or Asian) port city does the story begin? At thattime, the place was a British colony, and it continues to be multiethnic. (1.b) As well as the“uneasily” urban Malays, the “industrious” Chinese, and the apparently “nonchalant”English, what other two races does the unidentified narrator highlight on page 53?The physically “big” Mrs. Hamlyn — who had boarded the ship earlier (in Yokohama, Japan) —emerges as a lead character in the story. (1.c) With which married woman does she observe“the doctor,” who is also sometimes referred to “the surgeon”? Later, the text identifies thedoctor as “an Edinburgh man,” meaning that he trained at the prestigious University of EdinburghMedical School, established in 1726, during the Enlightenment. (1.d) Use (and cite) a reliablesource to answer the following: Of which European country is Edinburgh the capital city?QUESTION SET #2 (a through d) • On page 54, Mrs. Hamlyn pays attention to a dockside group ofloudly talking men. (2.a) Why does she assume that these individuals are “planters,” and whatcauses them to be so loud? On page 55, a particular planter boards the P & O ship. Maugham’sunidentified, third-person narrator offers details about him. (2.b) What size of “fellow” is he?(2.c) What is the condition of his “suit” (made from khaki drill)?When seeking accurate definitions, the Oxford English Dictionary is the preeminent authority; itcan be found online, under “O,” in the Databases section of our university’s library website. Theword “brogue” appears in “P & O.” (2.d) What definition of the word “brogue” makes mostsense vis-à-vis this story — and why?QUESTION SET #3 (a through d) • The newly boarded planter turns out to be an Irishman namedGallagher. The syllable gall at the start of his name is the Gaeilge (or Irish-language) term for“foreigner.” (3.a) In the paragraph on page 56 that begins “After the hubbub …,” what is onedetail, image, or description that seems rather Irish?(3.b) During their sunrise rendezvous on pages 56 and 57, what item does Gallagher offerMrs. Hamlyn? It could be interpreted as a phallic object. (3.c) What does the word phallicmean? (3.d) What other aspect of the encounter might be considered sexy or erotic?QUESTION SET #4 (a through c) • On page 57, the Ireland-bound Gallagher asserts that he is “goinghome for good.” (4.a) In your opinion, what are two ways of interpreting the phrase “forgood,” as used by Gallagher?(4.b) According to information conveyed on pages 58 and 59, what allowed Gallagher to “[do]very well” (i.e. make money) in the Federated Malay States or FMS, and what activity doeshe intend to pursue when back in his native Galway? Galway is a county on Ireland’s “WildWest” coast; we encountered it recently, when studying James Joyce’s short story “The Dead.”(4.c) Will Gallagher miss the FMS, his base for 25 years?QUESTION SET #5 (a through c) • (5.a) Concerning what issue is “[a] meeting … held of thefirst-class passengers”? (5.b) In addition to not “hurt[ing] [the] feelings” of the second-classpassengers, what other consideration or matter arises during the meeting in support of aninclusive attitude towards those individuals? (5.c) What is Gallagher’s opinion of thefundamental question the meeting addresses, and what connection does the Irishman havewith a particular second-class passenger, Mr. Pryce?QUESTION SET #6 (a through d) • After he orders a pre-dinner “gin pahit” (i.e. gin and bitters) onpage 62, Gallagher discusses a sudden-onset medical condition with Mrs. Hamlyn. (6.a) Whatcondition has he developed, and when did it commence? Later, the narrator brings us into Mrs.Hamlyn’s mind to discover the truth about her personal life. (6.b) What are the Englishwoman’scircumstances? In your answer, use all five of the following numbers and terms: “eighteen years”;“twenty years”; 40; 48; and 52.At one juncture, the narrator speaks of “the promiscuity of shipboard,” underscoring that the shipcan be a libidinal or erotic space. Another potentially libidinal venue is a beach house. (6.c)According to page 64, what experience has Mrs. Hamlyn had of such a house? (6.d) Whatdid Mr. Hamlyn indicate to his wife about the possibility of their divorcing?QUESTION SET #7 (a through d) • Recently, you read Frederick Douglass’s 1846 letter to WilliamLloyd Garrison about the human suffering he witnessed in Dublin, Ireland, related in part to thepotato famine or Great Hunger. (7.a) In the paragraphs on page 70 that focus on the sickGallagher, what two or three descriptions or observations might remind readers of famineand famine-victims? Note that on the next page, Gallagher expresses confidence that he will“reach the green shores of Erin [Ireland] all right.”Over the course of pages 71 and 72, Mrs. Hamlyn meets Gallagher’s longtime assistant, Mr. Pryce.(7.b) What job did Pryce perform on “Mr. Gallagher’s estate”? He identifies himself as “acockney,” a popular term for someone born in the East End of a major English city. (7.c) Whatcity does the man pronounce to be “my ’ome” — that is, my home? (7.d) For how many yearshas the man “been with Mr. Gallagher”?QUESTION SET #8 (a through c) • (8.a) According to Gallagher’s assistant, Mr. Pryce, who puta spell of Gallagher, and what was the relationship between that individual and theIrishman? (8.b) What type of house does Pryce associate with the spell-maker? (8.c) Pryce isa “very small man”; what kind of body does the spell-maker possess?QUESTION SET #9 (a through d) • As Gallagher’s condition worsens, he begins to resemble “theskeleton of a prehistoric giant” (page 81). In response to this physical downturn, the captaindetermines to make for the Middle Eastern port of Aden (then a British possession, and now partof the country of Yemen). Against the captain’s wishes, Gallagher’s companion determines to usethe services of a lascar (or South Asian seaman) who is also a “witch-doctor.” (9.a) What livingcreature does the cockney believe “would do” for a ritual aimed at curing Gallagher? Pages85 and 86 detail the curative ritual: “some dark ceremony of exorcism.” (9.b) What does Mrs.Hamlyn wear while witnessing it?(9.c) What adjective does the narrator use to describe the “fire” used in the ritual? (9.d) Doany images, sounds, or occurrences associated with the event suggest aspects of Jesus’s trialand/or crucifixion? (You may know that narrative already; if not, it appears in Chapters 25 and26 of St. Matthew’s Gospel.)QUESTION SET #10 (a through d) • (10.a) On page 87, what language does the doctor believethat Gallagher “began to talk”; and what did the Irishman “[seem] to think” during theepisode? (10.b) On page 94, what “[sweeps] over” the first-class passengers, and what“previous decision” do they reverse?(10.c) On page 97, what does Mrs. Hamlyn “[find] … in her heart”? (10.d) As the narrativeconcludes, to whom does Mrs. Hamlyn write a letter, and what message does it contain?

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