“Of course schools are made for the average. THE HOLES ARE ALL ROUND AND WHATEVER SHAPE THE PEGS ARE, THEY MUST WEDGE IN SOMEHOW. One hasn’t time to bother about anything but the average.”
-Mr Perkins, after finally accepting and understanding Philip’s desire to pursue his studies in Germany.
“But of course in England you get neither (freedom of thought nor action): you’re ground down by convention. You can’t think as you like and you can’t act as you like. That’s because it’s a democratic nation. I expect America’s worse.”
-Prof Wharton, on why he prefers to teach and live in Germany.
“He was so young, he did not realize how much less is the sense of obligation in those who receive favors than in those who grant them”
–on Philip’s disappointment that Monsieur Ducroz didn’t seem grateful that his tutee paid him in advance for next week’s lesson. And then Philip was later told by his professor that without the money he gave, the teacher would have starved to death.
“It was evidently possible to be virtuous and unbelieving”
-on Week’s kindness despite being a Unitarian and therefore opposed to the Church of England, etc.
Like most of post-Romanticism novels I’ve read, writers, like Maugham, struggle and continue to struggle against constructed establishments and how they are used to further the interests of the few who rule the majority.
In many ways, the book confirms my realization that religion should not be taken seriously, and it is on FAITH that I should devote myself more, for religion offers truth in a very self-serving way (eg, Henry XIII’s manipulations). There is a lot exploitation, guilt-tripping, deception, self-righteousness and bigotry. It is not surprising that Philip, in the middle of his life-journey, got confused and eventually lost faith.
As to the absurd educational system, it’s too strong for me to go against but I know I can still make a little difference (or maybe I have already who knows?).
Indeed, there is so much in this world that bind us and this book helps us see what they are and how we might possibly free ourselves. The only question is how courageous we are to break away.