“The Escape” by Somerset Maugham Analysis

Analysis of the story “The Escape” by Somerset Maugham. Sometimes men cannot say “No” to women, although they want it, and that’s why they have to make up some situations to make women say them “No”. The short story “The Escape” written by Somerset Maugham is exactly about this case, about the conflict between man and woman, and this escape is the main theme of the text. The idea of the story is that one should put on his thinking and act very carefully, as sometimes procrastination can give better results than haste.
The message of the story is that a woman can be sly and scheming, but a man can make it his way also. This story makes the reader think about life and relationships and it is not surprising, because S. Maugham became known as a master of human soul, a wise man who not only knows how to depict, the hypocrisy and brutality of bourgeois society, but also has the ability to portray different characters in clear and natural Manner. The text “The Escape” under consideration begins with a key sentence which contains the whole content of the story in the folded form.
Maugham writes about the relationship between Roger Charing and Ruth Barlow. Roger’s friend describes everything, whose name we don’t know. Roger Charing is a young man, who has a lot of money. And he falls in love with Ruth Barlow – an unhappy woman, who was twice a widow. They were happy together and they decided to marry. Then suddenly Roger fell out of love with Ruth, and he found the way, how to make Ruth release him. He told her that they would marry, when they would find the perfect house for both of them.

However time passed away and Roger rejected all the orders of the agents offering a new house. At last Ruth lost her patience and left Roger herself. The title of the text is one word that consist the definite article ‘the’ and the noun ‘escape’. The definite article ‘the’ is here not accidentally – it claims that text is about exactly this escape and not any in the world. The story begins with the narrator’s introduction of the problem that if a woman wants to marry a man, it’s a man’s hazard and he has to find the way out of the situation.
This is the exposition of the story. The exposition is written in the ironic tone. Such epithets as instant flight, inevitable loom, the narrator’s note “with a tooth brush for all his luggage, so conscious was he of his danger and the necessity for immediate action” make this effect. Then comes the inciting moment, in which both Roger Charing and Ruth Barlow are introduced. It is said that Ruth was twice a widow and it is said ironic, because the reader can think that Roger is the next victim, through the simile “He went down like a row of ninepins”.
He also gives a direct description of Ruth’s eyes using the epithets “splendid”, “moving”, “big and lovely”, a detached epithet “poor dear” – all in the ironic way. The modal verb must, exclamatory sentence, parallel constructions “if she married a husband beat her, if she employed a broker he cheated her, if she engaged a cook she drank”, the allusion “She never had a little lamb but it was sure to die” make a humorous effect. We can recognize now completely that all the narrator’s words were ironic, because his epithets towards Ruth are like that, and also “stupid” and a simile “as hard as nails”.
Then there comes an explanation of why he has such an attitude towards the poor widow. Going further, we come across an anticlimax. The tense is growing, but then Roger “on a sudden, fell out of love”. This is a bit unexpected. Ruth’s “pathetic (a repeated epithet) look ceased to wring Roger’s heart-strings” (a metaphor). But Roger “swore a solemn oath” (a metaphor) not to jilt Ruth, moreover, she was able to “assess her wounded feelings at an immoderately high figure” (an extended metaphor). And here begins the real climax with its growing tense.
The author uses repetitions “they… they”, “sometimes… sometimes”, “they looked, they inspected, they climbed”. After the main heroes’ reasoning in direct speech, their proceeded searching for a house looks like a repetition, too. Yet, the author uses an antonomasia here, calling Roger an angel, though we know he is not – an irony. Their further reasoning in the direct speech appears to be the climax: “do you want to marry me or do you not? ” Roger kept standing on his position – epithets “assiduous and gallant”. Their letters are resolution of the text.

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