William Somerset Maugham’s genius as a story writer is indisputable. His words display his inexhaustible innovative urge. The invention of Donna Lucia in The Lotus Eater is an ideal example of that creative urge.
It is undeniable that Maugham is famous for his appealing literary form. His unique way of dealing with the human affair is his signature style. And, the presence of a short character, Donna Lucia, in The Lotus Eater is the embodiment of that style. As a minute watcher of humankind, Maugham knows how to describe human life most compactly and concisely.
His every writing manifests his impressive art of storytelling. Most importantly, precision in portraying a character is the lifeblood of a short story. And, Maugham’s portrayal of a character shows that accuracy regarding perfect brevity. Whether it is of extreme importance or small, every character always enjoys equal perfection in Maugham’s words.
Donna Lucia is indeed a minor character, but it enjoys sufficient relevance in the story. The author introduces her in the story just in time. Readers know that the famous short story, The Lotus Eater, presents a tale of a man, Thomas Wilson, who prefers to choose a life that doesn’t match with the known conventional way of living. Readers may consider him a man with queerness.
But, Maugham’s splendid narrative technique about Wilson’s way of choosing and living an exceptional lifestyle unlocks many aspects of a striking theme and the storytelling. And the presence of Donna Lucia makes that narrative approach more interesting.
Somerset Maugham represents the good-looking woman, Donna Lucia, as the wife of an inn-keeper or tavern-keeper. And, the host of that tavern is probably Morgano, as mentioned in the story (“Morgano’s”). Now, the author introduces a brief description regarding the beauty of the hist’s wife.
According, to the writer’s description, the woman is a middle-aged one. However, she is still beautiful. In addition, she possesses the traces of her beauty that she had thirty years before. Her eyes are indeed charming. It seems that she has the eyes of Hera, the queen of Heaven. Even her smile is adoring and gracious.
There is no denying that Maugham here makes an apparent deviation from his main story. The aim is to enhance the readers’ curiosity. In short, it puts on a variety of interests in the narrative.
The inclusion of some interesting aspects in the main story is an inevitable feature of a skilled writer. And, Maugham here did the same thing. He knows that continuously describing a man’s life may appear dull for the readers and listeners. The only way to make it charming is to add some compelling elements. And, the arrival of Donna Lucia unfolds the opportunity for the advent of such a persuasive element.
Her entry at the right time makes her an apt character. It shows the author’s unmatchable skill in uncovering the best mode of expression. Moreover, the deviation is so timely that it can compel a reader to complete the story in a single sitting. In addition, the characterization and detailing in character narration are, for sure, emerge with distinctive marks in The Lotus Eater.