The story takes place in liner sailing from San Francisco toYokohama. The effects of an ending war make it hard for people to getaccommodation. The narrator, therefore, has to share a cabin width astranger, Mr. Kelada. The narrator comments about his hooked nose,and it implies an individual with a Jewish nativity. The narratorabhors the cultural difference between him and Mr. Kelada despite himbeing portrayed as a tidy and neat character. However, Mr. Keladatalks a lot and engages in any discussion leading to people referringto him as a “.” Mr. Kelada meets Ramsey, who isreturning to Kobe and notes the string of pearls his wife is wearing.Mr. Kelada is ready to bet a hundred dollars on the pearls believingthat it cost thousands of dollars. After realizing that it was a giftfrom her husband he decides to ruin his name instead of interferingwith the relationship between the two lovers. The story emphasizes onthe deceptive nature of appearance. Mr. Kelada, who seems talkativeand less caring, is indeed sensitive to others, and a book shouldnot, therefore, be judged by its cover.
1. Why do you think it took so long for the narrator to recognizethe true nature and character of Mr. Kelada?
2. Do you think it is possible for an individual to have such twodistinct and contrasting characters as observed in Mr. Kelada? Canone know it all while at the same time be sensitive and considerateabout the opinion and feelings of others?
3. "No one likes being made to look a perfect damned fool"(61). I choose this quote on page 61 because it shows the truecharacter of Mr. Kelada. A reader can also contemplate on the quoteand shape their behavior around it.
The writers tone in the opening remarks is very prejudicial. He says,“I was prepared to dislike Max Kelada even before I knew him”(4). He also exhibits an angry tone while playing cards with Mr.Kelada. Also, he expresses his anger with Mr. Kelada’s way of doingthings. While playing cards the author, “with rage and hatred in myheart I finished.” At the end of the story, the narrator shows arelaxed and accommodating tone when he learns of the true nature ofMr. Kelada. He says, “At that moment I did not entirely dislike Mr.Kelada.”
From the characters and the flow of the story, I can make severalinferences. First, Jews face discrimination from other sweatersocieties going y the comments made by the narrator. He says,“…hooked nose and very large lustrous and liquid eyes” (5). Hedoes not like his appearance. Also, I can infer that Japan and theUnited States have an intricate relationship. Mr. Ramsey works at aconsular in Kobe. Finally, one can easily note the making of imitatedgood by the Asian merchants a common market behavior observed today.Mr. Kelada notes, “There had been in the papers a good deal of talkabout the cultured pearls which the cunning Japanese were making”(62).
Maugham, William Somerset. Mr Know-All. London: Christie,Manson & Woods, 1985. Print.