The Luncheon By Somerset Maugham Summary & Analysis

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Contents

The Analysis of the short story The Luncheon

 

The text I’m getting to analyze represents a short story, entitled “THE LUNCHEON”, written by a prominent, English novelist, short-story writer, playwright, and essayist Maugham.
First of all, I’d wish to say some words about the title of the text “The Luncheon”. The title of the text is quite ironic. If we consult a dictionary, we will determine that the word “luncheon” means a “light snack”, but as we will see hereinafter a light-weight snack turns to be an abundant and expensive meal.

The text represents the primary person narration. the utilization of pronouns “I”, “my”, “myself” is predominant. E.g. “Did I remember?”, “My heart sank”, “as for myself, I chose the most cost-effective dish”.

The plot of the text is that the following: the narrator, a book writer, recognizes a lady with whom he had lunch years ago. He starts remembering the unforgettable evening.

He was young, lived in Paris and will barely make ends meet. She had read of his books and wrote a letter to congratulate him on his work. He invited her for lunch and to his horror, she chose an upscale restaurant. He had only eighty francs to last him the remainder of the month. She ordered one expensive dish after another and when the bill came he paid and was left with no money in the least. However, within the end, the narrator feels that he has finally had his revenge when he sees that the woman now put tons of weight.

Maugham offers the reader an outline sustained by dialogues that features a source during a cutback. The author presents a cut back soon at the start of the text and this cut back becomes a crucial detail “Did I remember?” which allows us to understand what had happened twenty years ago. The flash-back goes to the last paragraph when the narrator comes back to this time and shows us that he had been revenged.

The tone of the text is ironic. The irony is presented here during a stressed form, mainly in the scene of the restaurant.

The given text is often divided into 3 logical parts: the 1 one is presented by 2 first paragraphs when the narrator sees the woman at the theatre in 20 years since their first meeting, which recurs to his memory within the second logical part. I’d wish to say that it is the story within the story. So, this very part is often divided into3 structural parts. I feel that it’s the open structure: it possesses the exposition, the story, and therefore the climax.

The exposition begins with the sentence “It was twenty years ago and that I was living in Paris” and ends with the words ” I answered that I might meet my friend by correspondence at Foyot’s on Thursday at half-past twelve.” Here the reader learns about the place of action – Paris and time – it had been 20 years ago.

We learn that most of the narrator was very poor and will hardly keep body and soul together. The reader gets information about the events which preceded the meeting of the most characters. The protagonist got the letter from a woman who was admired by his work, she wrote that she was interested to possess a chat with him and suggested meeting at Foyot’s, one among the foremost expensive restaurants. He was flattered and couldn’t say “no” to her. The author uses: epithets little luncheon and modest luncheon are in contradiction with the posh restaurant Foyot’s at which the French senators eat. I feel it’s wont to achieve the ironic effect., the epithet – tiny room and therefore the cliché to stay body and soul together underlines the very fact that he lived in want.

Then comes the most part. It begins with the narrator’s description of his admirer and lasts until the last sentence. The action takes place within the restaurant. Here the reader learns more about most characters. they’re presented both directly and indirectly. So, the male character is that the ingenious one as we may note through the expressions from his way of thinking, acting, and speech “Foyot’s was thus far beyond my means I had never even thought of going there”, “I used to be flattered, and I was too young to possess learned to mention “no” to a woman”. These and other examples show us the narrator’s traditional concepts. he’s also an informed man, polite,
from an honest family tradition.

As for the feminine character, we will get a transparent idea about her from what the narrator tells about her “She wasn’t so young as I expected and in appearance imposing instead of attractive. She was, in fact, a lady of forty ( an enthralling age, but not one that excites a sudden and devastating passion initially sight), and she or he gave me the impression of getting more teeth, white and enormous and even than were necessary for any practical purpose. She was talkative, but since she seemed inclined to speak about me I used to be prepared to be an attentive listener.

So, we will see that the narrator is the mouthpiece of the author. And also we study her through her actions, behavior, and speech: e.g she repeats “I never eat anything for luncheon”, but she eats everything she will because the narrator says: “I watched the abandoned woman thrust the asparagus down her throat in voluptuous mouthfuls and in my polite way discoursed on the condition of the drama within the Balkans.

” So we will conclude that the lady is sensible, experienced, selfish, cold, with none feeling except to satisfy her desires. I feel that he perceives her like a beast of prey and therefore the hyperbole “she gave me the impression having more teeth, white and enormous and even than were necessary for any practical purpose, proves this concept.

The dialogues between the host and therefore the guest are effective and permit the reader to witness what’s happening. we will easily perceive how the author makes the tone vary within the words of the characters. The woman’s tone never changes while she cheats the host and orders the foremost expensive dishes, and therefore the repetition of the same phrases proves it I never eat anything for luncheon”, and “I never eat quite one thing”. which is the key sentence of the text. The woman’s insistence in saying that she doesn’t eat anything for lunch is within the stressed mark of irony, for she ate sort of a heroine. The contrast during this short – story gives origin to a posh game between the host and his guest and it’s sustained through things of the host which becomes worse as time goes by.

We can feel the suspense be developed through the words of the narrator from the very beginning. At the start of the text, we notice his willingness to please her, but because time passes his utterances become shorter and shorter and his tone becomes more and more subdued. e/g. metaphor: my heart sank a touch, I turned a touch pale, my heart sank, panic seized me. He answered generously, I answered promptly, I asked faintly becomes less generous, as he’s more worried about what proportion he will need to pay. it had been the sole thing he could believe.
The tension gets to its highest point when the bill comes. I think this moment to be the climax of the text.

Summary of The Luncheon

 

The Luncheon

 

The writer of ‘The Luncheon’ William Maughamduring this story, relates a few ladies who is a lover of his stories. She wins the author’s favor and expresses her wish to satisfy him at a high-class restaurant. William exposes the false motives of modest eating habits, of the center classes with slightly of humor.

Twenty years ago the author was living in Paris when he had met a woman, who is a lover of his stories. She had met him at a play and relates to him the incident during the interval which had occurred at that point. She had read a book written by him and had written a letter to him about her views. Another letter was posted, stating about her visit to Paris and her desire to possess a touch luncheon at the Foyots, a restaurant where French senators eat. William wasn’t an upscale man and had never even thought of visiting that restaurant, nor did he possess the art of refusing her request.

Estimating the value of a luncheon, which shouldn’t cost quite fifteen Francs, he decided to chop down coffee from his menu, so that he could have enough for himself for a subsequent fortnight. His meeting was fixed on Thursday, at half-past twelve, through correspondence. The lady was in her Forties, talkative, and not attractive. She had ordered for Salmon, and Caviare, while the Salmon was being prepared. William had ordered for the most cost-effective dish mutton- chops.

After the meal, she had ordered white champagne. She kept enjoying the meal and chatting about art, literature, and music, while William kept wondering about the bill. The bill of fare was soaring above that which he had anticipated. When the waiter had accompanied the bill she waved him aside with an air of gesture and ordered for Asparagus, the expensive dish. William’s heart sank, his mouth watered, and yet he had to quell his emotions. Adding to worsen things, she ordered for ice-cream then coffee, all an equivalent announcing that ‘she never ate anything for luncheon – just a bite’ Thoughts kept reeling through William’s mind about how he was getting to pay the exorbitant bill or how could he feign an act of his pocket having been picked.

To his utter dismay, the head waiter walked up to the table with an outsized basket filled with huge Peaches. She picked up one protesting that her meal was just a snack, which she could certainly enjoy the Peach.

The bill was finally paid, and William found himself with just a couple of Francs for the ideas, and not a penny left in his pocket for the entire month. William believes, that he had had his revenge for then when the Twenty years had gone by, he met her weighing 100 and Thirty -Six Kilograms.

The Theme

 

The primary theme of the story ‘Luncheon’ by Maugham is appearance vs. reality.
The speaker, in ‘Luncheon’, wishes from the start that his date would be a gorgeous woman. He imagines a portrayal of a graceful lady in his mind. But, when he goes to possess lunch together with her, she appears as a surprising blast, a complete opposite to his imagination. Not only her appearance but also her dialogues express that she is a particularly fat, food-loving and ravenous woman who doesn’t even think a touch about the prices the speaker would need to buy the lunch. She features an excellent appetite and gobbles tons of cash also. the foremost interesting part is that the verbal irony hidden within the lines she utters to the speaker like she doesn’t eat an excessive amount of etc.

The irony concealed in her speeches helps to develop the most theme. These ironies make ‘Luncheon’ a comic book story within the true sense.The Luncheon – The Luncheon – The Luncheon – The Luncheon – The Luncheon

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