Flotsam and Jetsam

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Text interpretation: "Flotsam and jetsam"

by W. S. Maugham


This short story is told in the 3rd person, this is the third person narration.

The story took place in Borneo, in the Malay states. The story begins with the description of the setting in the Grange's house. Everything betokened poverty there. The dining-room was dingy. Norman Grange was a rubber-planter and after walking over the estate and checking that everything was done properly, he and his wife were having brunch. But the reader understood that their relations were far from ideal. Mr. Grange didn't notice her. He didn't talk to her as if she was not there. Suddenly the house boy came, accompanied by two men, a Dyak and a Chinaman. They talked a little and Norman ordered his wife to get a bed ready for a white man, Skelton, who had malaria. Skelton had a boy looking after him and there was no need for the Granges to butt in.

Skelton was an anthropologist and studied customs of Malay tribes. The long trek across the country had been hard and one day Skelton felt chilly. Kong gave his master a big dose of quinine and piled on him what coverings they had. Skelton was too ill and the boatman was too frightened to carry a dying man farther. But not far from that place they stopped a white man lived and the boatman was willing to take Skelton there. That's why Skelton turned out to be in this dreadful house saturated with hatred and hostility.

Norman forbad Vesta to butt in and came close to their guest. But once Vesta visited Skelton and revealed her story that she was an actress. She played second parts and being in Borneo her agent stayed her with...