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Mabel by W. S. Maugham

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At the beginning, I would like to say some things about the title of the story. It doesn‘t represent anything significant, because it is only a woman‘s name and reader can‘t forecast what is going to happen in the story. The reader can only guess that Mabel is protagonist‘s name. The title doesn‘t states the cause of the conflict. This story comprises all four mine elements of the plot.

The exposition lies in the opening paragraph. It represents the setting in which the action takes place. It is the journey to Mandalay, the narrator is in Pagan in Burma. It is just a short stay at the riverside village. He comes to a pleasant little club where he meets a man sitting on the veranda. He is tall, thin, with a big moustache, wear khaki shorts and a khaki shirt. His name is George. Here we meet very important character – secretary (a flat character, who doesn’t change through the story), who is telling the story about George, and the reader for the first time confronts Mabel‘s name. She is inactive character, because about her we know only from the others, but she is the main character at the same time because this story is about her. The time of the story is not indicated. But as we see the atmosphere is friendly, warm and homelike. It is interesting that the story is told by the secretary to the stranger who doesn‘t even know characters personally. He has only seen George for a short moment. But these means make the story exceptional.

The development takes up most of the story. Here the author reveals Mabel‘s temper. She is round character because she changes through the story. She is stubborn and strong woman which knows what she wants very well and knows how to get it. George is a round character as the Mabel. He is weak and timid man which is afraid to strike a snag. The development includes three episodes. First episode represents the scene where George makes all arrangements for the marriage and he goes to Ragoon to meet her after the seven years. This episode is the cause of the conflict. Here his nerves fail him. He realizes that seven years is a very long time, and many things could change. The conflict is inner. „He must tell Mabel that he was very sorry, but he couldn‘t, he really couldn‘t marry her. But how could a man tell a girl a thing like that when she had been engaged to him for seven year and had come six thousand miles to marry him?

“ We can make conclusion that he is in despair, because is afraid to talk to her face to face. He doesn‘t want to hurt her. So he decides to write a letter. The conflict unfolds in the following episode. When George arrives to Singapore he realizes that Mabel is following him. The game hide-and-seek begins. „Every time he went out of the hotel he expected to run straight into Mabel‘s arms.” He feels like a hunting animal. But he must pay for his getaway. The atmosphere heats up. The last episode which leads to the climax is very strenuous. „He had already made his plans. The Yangtze is a long river and the Yangtze was falling (…) and then no one could travel till the following spring except by junk. Such a journey was out of the question for a woman alone.” Now he is calm and safe, he is enjoying his lonely, lazy days. It seems that he has forgotten Mabel.

The climax presents the highest point of the conflict. It is the logical consequence of the conflicts presented in the development. “Mabel stepped out. She was neat and cool and fresh. There was nothing in her appearance to suggest that she had just come in after a fortnight on the road. George petrified. He was as pale as death.” The outcome was foreshadowed throughout the development that is why it comes as no surprise to the reader. It‘s just a little bit funny that the first Mabel‘s words are: “Hulloa, George, I was so afraid I‘d miss you again.” At this point the conflict is resolved. Mabel has found George at last.

The resolution reveals the final outcome of the story‘s conflict. The ending of the story is ironic and really sets the reader laughing. Mabel: „It would have been so terrible if after all these years I simply hadn‘t been able to bring myself to marry you after all.” We can guess that she is teasing George. And this is a small Mabel‘s revenge. But she meets her aim. She says that she is ready to marry George as soon as she has a bath. And she does. The ending is not unexpected because proceedings unfolded gradually.

In conclusion I would like to say that the theme of this story is that you can run, you can hide, but you can‘t escape your fortune.

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