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NAME : Nur Asyiqeen

bt. Mohd Nor
CLASS : 402 Al-Biruni
TEACHER’S NAME : Miss Farah Nadia
Mohamad Ishak

Short story [ The Lotus Eater]
-moral values
-moral values
The Lotus Eater’s writer
-William Somerset Maugham

William Somerset Maugham was an avid traveler, and many on

his stories related to the people he met, places he visited and
experiences he encountered throughout his travels. Maugham
was also a keen observer and his stories contained vivid
descriptions of people, places and encounters. Although
Maugham died in 1965, his literary works are still widely read and
used as texts in schools and universities in many parts of world.

His stories are unique as they are narrative, as seen through the
eyes of the narrator or writer. Maugham does not impose any
judgment in his stories, he leaves it to the readers to make
necessary judgment or form opinions based on the events in the
story or the experiences that the characters undergo. This is also
true of “The Lotus Eater” where the writer does not make any
judgment based on Thomas Wilson’s character and outlook.
The Road Not Taken’s writer
- Robert Frost

Robert Frost (1974-1963) is a literary marvel, who brought great

meanings to the literary world. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his
literary works several times throughout his lifetimes. His works of
poetry are unique as they displayed a stylistic form that showed
simplicity in language, reflections of distinct poetry forms, and an
art of reaching out to the audience. His works of poetry presented
deep-thoughts, reflections, philosophical insights, and brought out
aspects of the human dimensions that engaged and appealed to
the audiences. Robert Frost’s poetry works are read as literary
texts in educational institutions and schools throughout the world.
Although Frost died in 1963, his works of poetry live on remind
the world of him as a person, poet and thinker.
Short Story

The Lotus

William Somerset

Thomas Wilson is a strange person. He is a former

bank manager who wishes to only live for twenty
five years. He has enough money to live until sixty.
Wilson wishes to enjoy his life admist the beauty in
The Island of Capri. But when his money finishes,
he is not able to kill himself. He continues living in
the cottage by borrowing money from his landlord.
When he is told leave the cottage, he attempts to kill
himself. But he is fails to do so and becomes ill. He
is a changed person. His life becomes meaningless
and he lives like a wild animal. In the end, he dies
under the moonlight on the hillside.

The Introduction or Opening Stage (Exposition):

The story unfolds with the writer’s friend telling him about Thomas Wilson. Wilson plans to die
when he reaches the age of sixty. The writer is surprised and wishes to meet Wilson. The writer
meets Wilson and learns about him and his strange intention. Very few people would make a
decision like Wilson, whose approach to life is unrealistic. Wilson does not reveal what he
intends to do with his life or how he is going to end it. The writer fears that he intends to do
some irrational act, but does not bother about it as it is Wilson’s life, and he has absolute control
over it.

The Rising Action Stage

Wilson has worked for a year to collect money and has bought an annuity (a kind of insurance
policy) which would provide a yearly income to him on a regular basis. He plans to only live
until his money finishes when he reaches the age of sixty. However, when Wilson money finishes
when he reaches the age of sixty, he continues to live. He borrows some money to continue
living by telling landlord that his money would come soon. Wilson manages to live under such
pretext for over a year. But he luck runs out, and his landlord tells him to leave if he does not pay
his rent. Wilson is faced with a dilemma.

Wilson attempts suicide by starting a fire using charcoal in his bedrooms while the windows are
all shut. He is unsuccessful because he is not determined to take his own life. He has not made
any major decisions for a long time so when it is time for him to make the most important
decision; to take his own life. He is unable to do so.

The Falling Action Stage

He is alive but becomes ill. Both Assunta and her husband, take him to hospital where his
condition gets better. But, he is no more the same Wilson; he has changed. Assunta and her
husband allow Wilson to live in a woodshed and they give him food. In return, he takes care of
their goats and chicken. The woodshed is very uncomfortable to live in. It is extremely hot
during summer, and on the other hand, freezing cold during winter. Wilson lives a miserable life.
But, it is Wilson, who has chosen the manner to live. It is his choice of life.

The Closure or Ending

Wilson lives for six years in the woodshed. He dies in the hillside, on a ninght, when the full
moon appears. He dies overlooking the impeccable Bay of Naples.

Thomas Wilson
-unrealistic about life (after attempting suicide)
-impractical (wishes to live only for 25 years)
-unwise and not far sighted
-insistent, adamant
-selfish, self-centered, loner, loser, reserved
-easygoing, simplistic, unbothered
-not ambitious

-realistic/practical (down-to-earth)
-contented with life
-curious, interested to know people and about their lives
-certain about things in life
-not judgmental of other people’s characteristics or behaviours
-an avid traveler

Writer’s or Narrator’s Friend

-friendly and likes to socialize

Assunta’s Husband
-strict/stern landlord
Making Decisions
The story involves the themes of making decisions. Decision-making is part and parcel of living.
Everyone needs to make decisions in life, whether it is major or minor. Throughout the story, the
idea of making decision and facing the consequences or the effects of decision is notable.
However, he is not determined or courageous to make the most important decision in his life; to
commit suicide. Wilson fails to make the decision to takes his life. The decisions that Wilson
makes are giving up his job, selling his properties, leaving London, wanting to live for twenty
five years, and choosing the way he would live. However, he makes the wrong decisions and his
life turns out to be meaningless, empty and miserable. He is a pauper in the end.

The theme of responsibility is also present in the story. People have responsibility towards their
family and friends. In ‘The Lotus Eater’ Wilson runs away from responsibilities. He does not
wish to take any responsibilities and live a simple live, where he does not need to be responsible
to anyone or organization. On the other hand, the other characters show their responsibility.
Responsibility is not only confirmed to the self, but also is extended to family, friends and
organizations. Responsibility entails making the right decisions in life too.

Making Judgment
The theme of making judgment about someone based on the actions of the respective person or
character. While the readers may be judgmental of Wilson, the writer or narrator is not
judgmental at all. He does not impose his judgment on the readers or influence them. The writer
is neutral and says that everyone is entitled to make his or her decisions in life. However, they
have to face the consequences of their decisions and actions. The writer fears that Wilson intends
to do some irrational acts, but does not bother about it as it is Wilson’s life, and he has absolute
control over it. Making judgment is an important aspect that runs throughout the story.

Live is precious
The theme also deals with suicide. It is not easy to end one’s life. The moral issue on life is; no
one has the right to take his or her life. Life is the gift of God and it is precious. Wilson wishes to
end his life after living for twenty five years or when he reaches the age of sixty. But, in reality it
is impossible to end one’s life by limiting the span of life. Even Wilson is unable to end his own
life, as he has planned and decided. The value of life is discussed in the story as one of the

1. It is important to appreciate the gift of life
The story teaches us to appreciate the gift of life. The gift of life is divine. As human we have a
moral obligation to protect life and not to end it by committing suicide. Life is too precious and
Wilson is unwise to want to end his life upon reaching the age of sixty. We must realise that it is
important to live life to the fullest and not act as a coward by committing suicide.

2. It is important to have a vision in life

The story teaches us have a vision in life. Wilson’s life is empty, meaningless and miserable. He
fails to be a success in life. He ends up as a pauper, shuns away from people, living life as if he is
a wild animal. The story teaches us that life would be meaningful if we have a vision or
ambition. It is important for us to develop ourselves as knowledgeable individuals who are able
to contribute to the betterment of the self, society and country. In Wilson case, he has worked as
a manager, is well-educated and should be able to lead a meaningful life. But he chooses to leave
everything behind and become a rolling stone which gathers no moss. In the end, he ends up
living a pathetic life, and his life is meaningless. The moral of the story is to be positive-minded
and have a vision to be a success in life.

3. It is important to be practical
The story teaches us to be practical and learn to solve problem carefully. There is a need for us to
be realistic in life. It is important for a person to be educated, get a decent job and contribute to
the betterment of society. This is the reality of living in a society. We cannot isolate ourselves and
live life alone. No man is an island, thus we need to be part and parcel of society. Wilson behaves
strange, living on his own, away from people and later, he avoids people. It is very impractical. It
is so important to what is happening around us, living a meaningful and practical life.

4. The importance of being responsible

From the story we learn about responsibility. It is important to be responsible. Throughout the
story, Wilson is irresponsible. He is not a very responsible person as he wants to live a
meaningless life and he is willing to end his own life. A responsible person will not be thinking
of isolating himself. Moreover, a responsible person will not be thinking of committing suicide.
Wilson is also not responsible as he cheats his landlady into believing that he will be getting
some money soon. He borrows from his landlord and does not repay him. He tries to kill himself
by starting a fire inside the cottage. Instead of taking care and protecting the cottage, he behaves
like an arsonist. From the incidents in the story, we learn that responsibility is an important
virtue. It is trait that shows that a person is disciplined and can be trusted.





1. “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,”
- Two roads appeared at a junction in a forest in autumn.

2. “And sorry I could not travel both”

- And I could not travel on both of them on the same time

3. “And be one traveler, long I stood”

- I stood there for a long time

4. “And looked down one as far I as I could”

- And looked as far as I could

5. “To where it bent in the undergrowth;”

- One of the roads bent in thick bushes

6. “Then took the other, as just as fair”

- Then took the other path which looked just as good

7. “And having perhaps the better claim,”

- And perhaps looked more inviting

8. “Because it was grassy and wanted wear;”

- Because it looked grassy and undisturbed

9. “Though as for that the passing there”

- At that time when I thought about my two choices

10. “Had worn them really about the same.”

- I felt that both roads looked alike

11. “And both that morning equally lay”

- And both lay equally inviting

12. “In leaves no step had trodden black.”

- There was no one around to explains things to me or help me decide

13. “Oh, I kept the first for another day!”

- I finally decided to keep the first road for another time

14. “Yet knowing how way leads on to way,”

- Yet knowing how times passed and one thing led to another

15. “I doubted if I should ever come back.”

- I did not think I would ever have the chances to experience the life the other option offered

16. “I shall be telling this with a sigh”

- I would be telling this incident with a sigh of relief

17. “Somewhere ages and ages hence:”

- For a long time ago

18. “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –”

- Two roads appeared at a junction in a forest and I

19. “I took the one less traveled by.”

- Took the one that fewer people took

20. “And that has made all the difference.”

- And it had made a difference in my life.
Making important decision in life
The poem deals with making important decision in life. Decision making is an important aspect
in life. The persona faces a situation in which he has to a very important decision that would
affect his next course of action. In the poem the persona is a traveler who comes across two
diverged roads. He has to choose the one that would take him to the right destination. The
persona makes the decisions after weighing the pros and cons.

The realities in life

The persona faces the realities of life as a solo traveler. There is no one he can turn to for help or
assist him to make decisions. This is one of the themes in the poem. The persona realises of his
immediate environment and knows that the situation is a real one. He is faced with a problem.
There are two options or alternatives available but he can only choose one. This is the reality in
life. There are instances in life when one has to make a decision from the number or possibilities
or alternatives.

Facing challenges in life

One of the themes of the poem also relates to facing challenges in life. There are many
challenges in life. The poem shows that persona is willing to face challenges in life. He is willing
to make decisions that are risky. Risk-taking is part of facing challenges in life. There are many
uncertainties in life as indicated by the persona but as a traveler at the cross-road of life, he is
willing to take challenges to achieve his goals. Being optimistic helps face the challenges in life.

Understanding oneself
The poem also highlights the theme knowing oneself. It shows that the persona knows himself
very well especially his strengths and weaknesses. He is willing to make a vital decision and face
the consequences of his action. The persona is confident in making decisions.

The poem highlights the theme of forward-looking. The persona as a traveler is a forward-
looking person. He looks forward to the future even without knowing what the future holds. The
persona is also optimistic towards the future.

The poem teaches us to deal with situations in a rational way, by
understanding the situation well. It also teaches us to make
important decisions carefully. The persona shows that it is
important to weigh pros and cons before solving a problem or
making an important decision.

The poem highlights positive values that are important to succeed in

life. It teaches us to be forward-looking, optimistic, and far-sighted.
We need to be focused as life in a journey and we are all travelers.
Thus, we need to make the right decisions in life.

We learn the importance of being realistic and practical in life.

When we make decisions from available options we have to be
careful as we have to face the consequences of our actions. It teaches
us to be brave in facing the challenges in life and to make decisions
carefully as some in life are risky. Risk-taking is part and parcel of
challenges in life.