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Mr. Know All - Four Levels | The Flax-Golden Tales

W. Somerset Maugham, England (1874 – 1965)

Mr. Know All - Four Levels | The Flax-Golden Tales

Mr. Know All

Literal Comprehension: When the First World War ended, the writer ‘Somerset Maugham ‘ decided to go to Japan from America by ship. It was very difficult to get a good seat on the ship. But he managed to get in cabin seat in the ship. His cabin partner, max Kelada, was much talkative. At first, the writer thought that he was a Negro but later he came to know that he was also an English man. However, he hated his chatty nature. He introduced with everyone on the ship and conducted a lottery action. He said that he had a good knowledge of everything. So they called him ‘Mr. Know All’. Although alcohol was strictly prohibited to carry, he uttered writer to have cocktail “mix wine”. Once the writer, Mr. Kelada, Mr. and Mrs. Ramsays got chanced to have dinner at the same table. Mr. Ramsay was in the consular service posted at Kobe, Japan. He had spent one year in alone in Japan because his salary was very low. Now he had come to take his wife with him. Mr. Kelada said that he was going to Japan to examine pearls. He saw a pearls chain around Mrs. Ramsay's neck and said that they were original. When Mr. Ramsays told him to guess the price, he said that they could cost up to 30,000 dollars.but when Mr. Ramsay said that they were false, he didn’t believe and they had a bet of one hundred dollars. When Mr. Kelada was going to check the pearls, Mrs. Ramsay looked nervous. Although the pearls were original, Mr. Kelada said that they were false to save Mrs. Ramsays. The next day when she returned his money, the writer was surprised to know the reality. He also knows that Mr. Kelada was really Mr. know all. Then he began to like Mr. Kelada.

Interpretation: The writer may be trying to show humanity and nature of women. Outer cover can never represent the inner reality. Although Mr. Kelada is hated by all, he is proved to be the best example of humanity. He became a fool and lost money and prestige but he saved the happy married life of Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay. This story also shows the dual character of women.

Critical thinking: Although this story gives a moral lesson. Some ideas of the writer are not convincing. After reading this story we can ask some questions. If alcohol was not allowed to carry how did Mr. Kelada offer a cocktail to the writer? Did Mr. Kelada know everything? Then why did people hate him?

Assimilation: I am very much affected by this story. After reading this story, I know that we can’t judge people from their appearance. This story also taught me that it is not easy to understand the character and secrecy of women. Now I don't believe in women easily.

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