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Durham e-Theses
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W. Somerset Maugham and a philosophy of life

Linares, Francisca Sempere (1992) W. Somerset Maugham and a philosophy of life. Masters thesis, Durham University.

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Abstract

'Man is nothing else but that which he makes of himself'. This, which is the first principle of Existentialism, is the starting point of the present study on Maugham's production. The heroes and heroines of the works analyzed here are people who, at a certain time in their lives and due to different circumstances, wonder about the meaning of life. They reach the conclusion that life has no meaning and that it is each person who has to create his own pattern and thus make of life something bearable. Starting from the idea that life has no meaning, it is clear that these characters are not going to find a blissful happiness; first, because we know that 'happiness is something you must under no circumstances seek, it just comes if you interest yourself in absorbing pursuit'; and second, because this kind of happiness can never exist in a meaningless world. Thus, what they are looking for is a kind of life to which they can resign themselves with a certain degree of contentment, and in which they feel fulfilled. All this, of course, without having any great expectations from life. Maugham proposes in his works three different ways by means of which his characters can reach this state of satisfaction: through Love, Art, and Truth. Although this writer also reminds us that the only other way open for those who cannot come to terms with life is suicide, he seems also to suggest that the best thing one can do is resign oneself to the fact that life is meaningless and try to make the most of it.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1992
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 Nov 2012 10:56

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