How do art and the artist affect our understanding of the social good in Maugham's The Moon and Sixpence? 

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Natalie Saaris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Moon and Sixpence depicts an artist who cares little for social conventions or the welfare of society. Strickland is an artist who cares little for anyone: he abandons his family in London in order to paint, rejects Blanche after she has served her purpose as his model, and does not even bother to expose his art to the public. He doesn't care about the opinions of others and alarms his acquaintances with his impoverished dwelling, a lifestyle that he has chosen by not selling his paintings. 

Strickland's painting is largely a selfish endeavor - it is not intended to benefit the common good. Though the narrator arguably admires Strickland's devotion to his work and his independence from social conventions, the artist has no concern for anyone.