Mr. Know All by W. Somerset Maugham

First of all I want to begin with the narrative perspective. In the short story “Mr. Know-All” by William Somerset Maugham there is a first person narrator, who takes an active part in the story. He is a very important character. It is not easy to tell whether he is a minor or a major character. On the one hand he is a major character because the way he presents Mr. Kelada influences the reader a lot. On the other hand he is just a minor character because he is only the presenter of Mr. Kelada.
The reader never can see him in real action when he is without Mr. Kelada. He is just present to tell the reader what Mr. Kelada does and how he behaves. Furthermore he is a minor character because the whole story deals with Mr. Kelada. In my point of view Mr. Kelada is the protagonist and the narrator is the foil, the so called contrast figure. He only reflects the good and the bad features of the protagonist. In this particular story the foil reflects more the negative than the positive traits.
The narrator himself is an English snob. He is not very fond of staying with somebody else in a cabin for fourteen days. Furthermore he is biased about foreigners, because “I should have looked upon it with less dismay if my fellow-passenger?s name had been Smith or Brown. ” 1 That sentences shows that he values the British higher than people of foreign origin. He is very biased about foreigners and especially about Mr. Kelada.

Throughout the story – but especially in the first 45 lines (and that is more than the first half of the short-story) – the narrator expresses his racist view. Consequently he depicts some incidents that make him despise Mr. Kelada. It is not only the name which arouses suspicion, because as he tells “When I went on board I found Mr. Kelada?s luggage already there. I did not like the the look of it; there were too many labels on the suitcase [… ]” 2 They make him believe that Mr. Kelada is a man with savoir-faire….

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