W. Somerset Maugham Writing Styles in The Painted Veil

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Point of View

The book is written in a third-person perspective which follows only the thoughts and actions of Kitty. However, while it is a third-person perspective, it is clear that the descriptions are often colored by Kitty's own judgments. Thus for example, in Chapter 7, Kitty's mother is introduced in the following way: "Mrs. Garstin was a hard, cruel, managing, ambitious, parsimonious, and stupid woman" (19). These feelings are obviously Kitty's. In the previous chapter she reflects on why she has a picture of her mother in her room, since she is not very fond of her. Further, when she returns home to Harrington Gardens and sees her mother's dead body lying in state before burial, she sheds no tears and does not feel particularly sad.

Likewise, when Dorothy Townsend, Charlie's wife, is first introduced, it is in clearly unflattering terms, mirroring Kitty's jealousy. She is described as wearing a...

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