A Post-Colonial Analysis of Mr. Know-All and Man-to-Man

3054 Words13 Pages
Li Bingjie Professor Zhang Zaixin Subject: Term paper for Reading the Short Story in English 28 June 2011 A Post-colonial Analysis of the Short Story Mr. Know-All and the Film Man-to-Man Race has been a fundamental concept in the world literature of all times. Racism, under which race-related issues are mostly discussed, involves the belief in racial differences, which acts as a justification for non-equal treatment, or discrimination, of members of that race. The term can have varying and contested definitions in works of different forms, but it is commonly used negatively and is usually associated with race-based prejudice, violence, dislike, discrimination, or oppression. Sociologist David Wellman defines racism as a “culturally…show more content…
What’s more, according to 19th-century British writers such as Rudyard Kipling, Charles Kingsley, Thomas Carlyle, and others, it was the duty of Europeans—the “white-man’s burden”—to bring civilization to nonwhite peoples through benevolent political and cultural imperialism (“White supremacy”). A Post-colonialist Reading of the Short Story Mr. Know-All Somerset Maugham’s short story Mr. Know-All is a quintessential text about “othering,” or a psychological operation upon which colonialist ideology depends. Specifically, I will argue that Maugham’s story reveals the colonialist ideology lurking at the core of British cultural identity and that colonialist psychology is a pervasive presence in the narrative as a whole, because that psychology is central to the characterization of the narrator. The story is told from the perspective of a person whose culture group has long been stereotypically considered privileged. Therefore, readers need to be cautious of an unreliable narrator and potential bias and prejudice that might be involved in the first-person narrative. The narrator in Mr. Know-All strikes me as a hard-core racist and an English snob right after the story unfolds. Because he was prepared to dislike Max Kelada even before they met, and simply on hearing the non-British name of his companion made his heart sink. From the statement “I should have looked upon it with less dismay if my fellow-passenger´s name had been Smith or Brown,” we can certainly sense
Open Document