First-Person Point of View in Contrast to Globalisation in Somerset Maugham’s ‘Mr. Know-All’

Narrator, persona, point of view, diction, contrast, globalisation.


  • Armel MBON
    Department of Language and Literature, Université Marien NGOUABI, Brazzaville, Congo
October 22, 2022


This paper discusses the first-person point of view in Maugham’s ‘Mr Know-All’. It particularly analyses the narrator's position in relation to the story told in this short story, with the intention of disclosing the latter’s prejudice against Mr Kelada, the protagonist, and consequently, its hindrance to globalisation. It thus underlines the fact that this protagonist and other travellers are different colours, but one person on this ship epitomises globalisation. The general attitude of readers is that they are inclined to easily believe the narrator while forgetting that fiction is the work of a taler, a teller, but, first and foremost, a liar. The audience, whether it is disconnected from the setting or not, also tends to forget that ‘‘travellers from afar can lie with impunity’’. In fact, the nameless narrator in Maugham’s short story has a persona that leaves a lot to be desired. He is prejudiced against Mr Kelada, known as Mr Know-All, as will be evidenced by the scrutiny of his diction. This paper finally purports to show that those who proclaim globalisation loudly are not ready to live together.