W. Somerset Maugham Writing Styles in The Fall of Edward Barnard

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The title of the story "The Fall of Edward Barnard," is ironic. A statement is ironic if its real meaning is different from the one that is asserted on the surface. In this story, the irony unfolds gradually. When the name of Edward Barnard is first mentioned on Bateman's return to Chicago, Bateman's face darkens, and he says to his father, "I'd sooner not speak about him, Dad." At this point the reader has every reason to suppose that something bad has indeed befallen Edward Barnard. But as the hints unfold in Edward's letters, the reader begins to question whether something else may be the case.

At the same time, Maugham sets up another thread of irony in the story, with the introduction of Arnold Jackson. Jackson is another man who has supposedly fallen. Formerly a respected figure in Chicago society, he served time in prison for financial...

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This section contains 758 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Fall of Edward Barnard Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
The Fall of Edward Barnard from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.