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Analyse the character of Mr. Kelada in Mr Know - All by William Somerset Maugham

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nguyennguyen1885 | eNoter

Posted July 25, 2013 at 1:56 PM via web

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Analyse the character of Mr. Kelada in Mr Know - All by William Somerset Maugham

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 25, 2013 at 3:46 PM (Answer #1)

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From the narrator's perspective in Mr Know-All, Mr Kelada is boisterous, nosy and thinks he knows everything. This is why the other passengers call him "Mr Know-All," apparently intending to demean him, but he takes it as a compliment. The fact that he is "everywhere and always" is something of an irritation to the narrator who can't even find his own seat at dinner as Mr Kelada has arranged him a seat at his table.  

He is happy to share his illegal liquor which, during "Prohibition" was an offence. Interestingly, the narrator, whilst consistently stating his dislike of Mr Kelada, takes the drink willingly - a little hypocritically actually- as, for his own reasons, the narrator expects Mr Kelada to treat him with more respect, using "mister" before his name. Mr Kelada has no airs and graces and it is not disrespect, it is just his familiarity - which he has with all the passengers.

Mr Kelada is not shy to share his knowledge but this makes him seem arrogant as he is "the chap who knew" never expecting to be wrong, nor admitting to it until he is faced with a dilemma when exchanging his expertize with the Ramseys. He is an expert on pearls as he is in "the trade" and rightly recognizes Mrs Ramsey's expensive string of pearls around her neck. Mr Ramsey argues that they are fake and the two men wager a bet. Mr Kelada, uncharacteristically, backs down and admits his mistake on seeing Mrs Ramsey's "wide and terrified eyes." Kelada's recognition that she may have a secret from her husband, thereby allowing himself to be ridiculed, is a very honorable gesture and Mrs Ramsey is saved the embarrassment of exposure in front of all these people.

For all his "hearty, jovial, loquacious (very talkative) and argumentative" behavior, being quite a nuisance and source of irritation and liking to always be right, Mr Kelada proves his worth when he does not interfere in the Ramsey's business. He would rather place himself at the centre of this "fine joke" revealing a side to his character that would otherwise have gone unnoticed.  

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