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First, let's discuss themes he avoided. Maugham would have avoided (to a fault) any sort of homosexual theme. He was scared of what happened in the Oscar Wilde trial and, thus, would not even consider discussing such themes.
His first theme "attempt" was to cover the idea of women escaping from the standards of Victorian England. However, people saw his work as gloomy and depressing, so he decided to try to make the social atmosphere around him seem light and humorous.
Stories with these themes were almost instant successes. By 1908 he had all the fame he desired from writing novels and switched to writing plays--by the end of that summer, he had four plays running on the main stages.
He then began to visit the Orient quite frequently. His visits resulted in some of his best work. He wrote a novel, some readable travel guides, and many short stories depicting his time overseas. Due to the European interest in the Orient and his fame--he was, again successful.
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