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To Love or To Hate

232 views. 2018-2-8 11:10

REVIEW ON THE moon and sixpence




I love reading and reading has already become part of my life. However, what the Moon and the Sixpences has brought to me is a brand new and fresh experiences. It’s hard to finds words to describe this book. If I had to choose one, I would say “profound”.


Even this book is actually about a simple story, but everything except that is not simple. This book is not born out of telling a story, it aims at something deeper, something much more complicated---the human being. Like what the author Maugham said in this book: “Now I am well aware that pettiness and grandeur, malice and charity, hatred and love, can find place side by side in the same human heart.”, the human being is indeed the most complicated creature on this planet. And it is the humanity, which the author strived to present us in this book, that makes it so thrilling and gripping.


Every character in this book has not only just one side, but multiple layers. What Maugham has done is to peel off one layer after another, strip all the pretenses and protections away, and hit right to the core of the human being.


There is no absolutely right and wrong. It’s not surprising that you would feel that the line is pretty thin between these two extremes when you read this book.


Charles Strickland, the main character in this book, abandons his wife and child, betrays his friend, bites the hand that fed him, and leaves his lover to die. Many things he has done are inhuman and beyond forgiveness. However, this very same man has the courage to start from zero at the age of 40, this same man sacrifices everything to pursue his dream, and creates a masterpiece of all time when he is suffering from severe illness, when he is completely blind. How could you not admire a person like this for his courage, his stubbornness, and his determination in pursuing of his dream?


Therefore, in this chapter you might hate Charles Strickland to the guts, but then in the next few chapters with more layers of him unfolded, you just can’t help but admire him. Good or Bad, to Love or to Hate, it’s really hard to tell.


There is another character, known as Dirk Stroeve, has many good qualities you can think of in a human being. He is warmhearted, kind, generous, always eager to help and has great eyes for the art. Normally, such a person should, if not be worshipped, at least be respected. However, the perplexing and cruel reality is that he has always been despised, betrayed, and trampled on. And everyone who knows him in person would think about only one word to describe him: Ridiculous.


Nature seems to fling many good elements together into him, but mischievously leaves one thing out: The Spirit. Without it, poor Dirk has conveniently and unsurprisingly become a sheep among wolves. The worst part is, when bad things happened to him, instead of stirring sympathy, he only excited ridicule.


In Dirk’s story, Maugham once again digs deeper into the weakness of the flesh. And you even don’t have a way to talk back. In fact, after so many years passing by, and in a country so far away from where Maugham was born, you could still find many similar cases around here. Something has never changes, and it doesn’t have national boundaries.


Maugham saw through people and he had the ability bring all his characters alive. You would always wonder what’s hidden beneath this layer, and is there more? Perhaps that’s exactly what holds the readers attentions and that’s the greatness of W. Somerset Maugham.  


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