The Lotus Eater is a famous creation of Somerset Maugham. It looks more like good narrative prose concisely suggesting some human life-related affairs. The accurate precision in representing the storyline establishes the author’s deep association with the story’s content. As a result, it appears as if Somerset Maugham, the lotus eater, is the baton bearer of the pivotal content.
The best thing about this story is a reader can grasp the entire content in a single sitting. With a unique touch of brevity, Maugham has represented the storyline with some fine, distinctive remarkable features. The co-existence of singleness and oneness in expression and characterization is one such astounding and rare trait.
The reality is not many authors have so far adopted this feature while delivering storylines. However, Somerset Maugham has uniquely adopted that characteristic. Moreover, he has used it with exactness while providing minute details in describing the storyline. And this is one prime reason why the world of story writing permanently recognizes him as a pioneering short story writer.
Maugham’s The Lotus Eater is an acute example of impressive artistry. In truth, on the one hand, this matchless craftsmanship unlocks an exquisite art of storytelling. And on the other hand, it unfolds a unique feature that marks the compelling modern short story as an incredible literary component.
One undeniable truth about short stories is they produce tales, for sure, very briefly. These short-span writings present a theme more compactly and concisely. And this tightly-packed representation defines the “unity of the plot.”
The Lotus Eater also gets portrayed in that tightly-packed representation. It contains a single theme. The story is based primarily on the central character Thomas Wilson. Being an ordinary man, Wilson quits his working life and wages to cherish pure leisure and pleasure in the bosom of nature for long twenty-five years.
The author portrays Wilson’s entire life as the prime storyline in a symmetrical order. The whole set includes three stages. The plot starts by describing Wilson’s working life as a good-salaried bank manager. The best thing is Wilson narrates his identity in the first person in this part.
The second stage reveals his delightful, leisurely life at Capri. And the third or last part describes his painful suffering and tragic death after twenty-five year’s comfort.
The writer finely unifies all three stages and helps retain the plot’s oneness. Moreover, due to this unique unification, the main content never derails from the key storyline. In addition, the author successfully retains the plot regarding the central character, Thomas Wilson, well-knit by playing the role of a narrator.
In a word, instead of choosing a galaxy of various essential characters, Maugham decides to limit the number of human figures in his story. He portrays one principal character, Wilson, and two less important characters, the author himself and his friend. Of course, the author makes a few references, like Thomas Wilson’s maid, her old husband, and the hostess of an inn. However, none of these individuals appear essential enough. None of them play any significant role in the story.
Now, the author’s role as a minute observer and narrator of the plot unlocks readers’ different viewpoints. A majority of them believe that although Wilson is the prime character but the writer, in reality, plays the pivotal role in delivering the true fact. For them, not Wilson but Somerset Maugham, the lotus eater is the lifeline of the entire plot.
Undoubtedly, The Lotus Eater leaves a long-lasting impression on the readers. The painful suffering and death of a human being whose acute desire for a life in the bosom of nature truly stirs the emotion of every reader.
Furthermore, the author’s flawless informative style brings life to that suffering. Even the author’s words as a narrator uncover a refined cathartic impact. The painful destruction of an innocent man by his own hamartia indeed unfolds a ‘cathartic’ effect from the rarest storyline. Simultaneously its perfect depiction ensures that not Wilson, perhaps Somerset Maugham, the lotus eater is the bearer of the impact.