Home by W. Somerset Maugham
In Home by W. Somerset Maugham we have the theme of letting go, respect, connection, doubt and honesty. Taken from his Collected Short Stories collection the story is narrated in the first person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Maugham may be exploring the theme of letting go. George despite so many years passing has not let go of the time he spent while he was with Emily. Though he lost out in love. He has arrived at the Emily’s home one more time to see her. This may be important as it suggests that George’s love may have never died for Emily. Though he may have lost in love to her. He has never really let her go. How attached George is to Emily is also noticeable by the fact that he is the only character in the story who calls her by her first name. Something that the narrator finds unusual. Both he and Emily’s children and those who live in the area call Emily, Mrs Meadows. Most likely as a mark of respect to her age. On the issue of respect it is also clear that Emily and George still have respect for one another. The connection they felt when they were younger remains. It is as though time has not changed their opinion of one another.
It may also be important that those in the house are keen to learn all about George’s life and his adventures. It is as though their own lives may not be as filled with the richness’s that George has experienced. He has after all spent the last fifty years sailing the world and spending time in China. A life that many people regardless of their circumstances would find interesting. It is also interesting that Emily despite the passing of her husband has also managed to live a successful life. Rearing a good family that is well liked in the area. It is as though Emily and each member of her family have the respect of their local community. Sometimes respect is difficult to obtain and even more difficult to keep when an individual’s life is placed on a pedestal. Something that Emily and her family manage to achieve. Overall the family seem to be a decent and hardworking family. Carrying on the traditions of those who went before them. They do not attempt to be what they are not. Which suggests that the family may have peace of mind.
The fact that George also wants to be able to walk up the garden path may also be significant as he is attempting to show others that not only is he able to do it but that he continues to be resilient. Where many men on being rejected in love might turn to living a dissolute life. This is not the case for George. He appears to have made a success of his life. Though the reader is sure that his heart must have ached when Emily chose Tom Meadows over him. There is also a sense that Emily and George have picked up from where they last left of, many years previously. There is no animosity from George and he would appear that he is happy to have Emily as a friend even though he couldn’t have her as a wife. There remains a connection between the two characters despite the passing of time. A connection which suggests that after all that has happened to both of them Emily and George remain affectionate friends. The title of the story may also be symbolically important as George may feel though he has come home. It is also interesting that Emily calls one of her sons George too. This might suggest the reader to believe that George has had a significant impact on Emily’s life.
The end of the story is also interesting as Maugham appears to be exploring the theme of doubt and honesty. Emily despite the passing of time and having married Tom has her doubts in her old age as to whether she married the right man. This may be important as just as George has never let go of Emily. She too may have never let go of George. The fact that she expresses her doubt to the narrator is also important as it highlights just how honest Emily is when it comes to expressing her feelings. Though she cannot turn back time and choose George as her husband she still may have regrets that she did not marry him. Something that her family may not be able to understand considering that George is more like a stranger to them. He may have been physically absent for long periods of time but there is little doubting that he still held a place in Emily’s heart. Whether she may have liked it or not. The fact that Emily is picking flowers for George at the end of the story also suggests that she still respected him. As he did her. They may have grown older but the moments they shared together in their youth are still remembered.