The story “The Man with the Scar” I would like to speak about is written by W. Somerset Maugham who is one of the most popular and widely read English writers. He wrote novels, short stories, plays and most of them had a great commercial success. W. Somerset Maugham traveled a lot during his life, he met different people, saw their lives so he gained a lot from his trips. Sometimes Maugham’s stories were thinly disguised episodes involving his host or others he had met on his travels-circumstances that occasionally resulted in threats and lawsuits.
The text for analysis is a short story. The main character is the storyteller who speaks about events from the first person. The secondary character is a friend of the storyteller, we know nothing about him: his name, age, his prof, etc. He’s just a companion which answers the author’s questions but he also plays a particular role in the story, because the author reproduces the life of the man with the scar with the help of his companion.
The story takes place in The Palace Hotel at Guatemala city in Central America. Author uses the Spanish language “Que tal, general”, “Gracias”… for underlining the local coloring of the place and the nationality of the men which speak this language. The narration begins with the description of the scar on the man’s face. Author uses epithets like “broad and red, a great crescent” that’s why storyteller notices this man, because of his scar, and immediately he tries to understand why this scar appeared on his face.
Author gives us a man’s appearance and characteristic features using epithets “undistinguished features, artless expression” what about man’s appearance “He wears a very shabby grey suit, a khaki shirt and a battered sombrero”. From this description given by storyteller we can suppose that the man with the scar could be a military man, maybe Spaniard but a poor man. His work consists of selling lottery tickets. Than the author introduces a little dialogue between author’s companion and the man with the scar.
The tone of their conversation shows us affably mood. Companion is interested in the life of the man with the scar, his business, calls him general and treats him, offers a brandy. The next passage tells us a sad story about the Man with the Scar. We get to know he was a general, he was able to upset the government but he was tried by court-martial and was sentenced to be shot ay dawn. Author gives us two descriptions. The first shows us the night before the execution.
The men were playing poker and the author underlines that” he general, he’d never had such a run of bad luck in his life” speaking about poker. This phrase tells us about true character of the man, because he was condemned to death at the dawn, what could be worst? But no for him not be winner in poker is important. I think he accepted his destiny and he lived one day one night. Then storyteller describes the day after the night. The day of the execution. The men were led into the patio of the goal and placed against the wall, the five of them aide by side.
The men were waiting for the general’s arrival, and “the man with the scar ” as an optimist said that than he had the time to smoke another cigarette and added that the general was always unpunctual. This phrase tells us that our character knows the general very well. The general arrived and asked men their last wish. Four of the five shook their heads but our friend accepted. The author introduces the little dialogue between the general and the man.
From this dialogue we get to know about the last wish of the man with the scar, he desired to see his wife, which was waiting for him at the prison door, for saying to her good bye. The general accepted. While our friend was smoking his last cigarette the four men were executed. The storyteller give us the description of the wife “she was in black, with a veil over her hair, and her face was dead white”. It was clear she was shaking with a fear. The author shows us her beauty, loveliness which was very attractive but which had short life.
The man killed his wife, but so quickly that nobody could understand how this had occurred. The author shows us the reaction of the other men and the A. D. C means general. Everybody was shaken but nothing could be done. “She‘s dead” the general concluded. “Why did you do it? ” asked the general. “I loved her” answered man. The general said at last “It was a noble gesture” and refused to execute him. So the death of the woman was the culmination point of the story. The wife dead for the sake of her husband.
In conclusion I have to say this story begins with author’s worrying about the scar on the face of the man and ends with the same question “But how then did he get the scar?” the narrator asked his companion “Oh that was the due to a bottle that I burst when I was opening it .. a bottle of ginger ale” And the author’s answer “I never liked it” this shows us the frustration, the author’s frustration of the cause of that scar why the scar appeared on his face…So the scar had not been caused by a sabre or by a fragment of shell, no it had been caused by a bottle of ginger ale.
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