Painted Veil Essay

4/1/2013 Tobias Korner | F3B| The Painted Veil| An Evolution of Kitty Fane| The Painted Veil| An Evolution of Kitty Fane| An Evolution of Kitty Fane “It was hopeless, it was no good to try, she was a slut. ” This one phrase completely epitomizes Kitty Fane’s abject, egocentric nature in The Painted Veil. In this essay the supposed divergence of Kitty’s behavior and attitude shall be explored, and abolished as a mere illusion.

Somerset Maugham created Kitty Fane to be a selfish, un-loyal wife that goes on an enlightening journey in cholera stricken Mei-Tan Fu, and changes into a caring, loving wife that rues her infidelity and self-indulgence, and who becomes almost pitiful in her attempt to reconciliate with Walter. Although when Kitty returns to Hong Kong, she again gives into her sinful nature and sleeps with Charlie Townsend again, revealing that Kitty has not changed at all, but was under the impression that she had done.

The first instance of Kitty Fane’s selfish nature was the reason why she married Walter Fane. Although she thought him to be humourless and overly serious <quote>, to get away from the influence of her mother, Mrs. Garstin, as she greately despised the fact that Kitty had not married yet, even though she was past her ‘flush of maidenhood’, which is what Mrs. Garstin thought a perfect woman should do. Another reason for Kitty to want to escape her mother is because her younger sister, Dorothy, got married before, which brang her quite a lot of shame.

The reason why Kitty’s ideals to marry Walter were so vain was because she married purely for her own benefit, and she still married Walter even though she did not love or even care for him <quote>. When Kitty and Walter arrive in Hong Kong, as newly weds, Kitty quickly realises that Walter is a dry and dull person, who bores and almost irritates her with his frequent tokens of love and affection. In Charles Townsend she finds a man whom she cannot resist, the total opposite of Walter <quote(s)>.

Soon she begins to have an affair with him, disregarding all the love that Walter has for Kitty, and alienates him from her daily routine. This is a perfect example of Kitty Fane’s absolute self-centeredness, and how she barely considers the people around her; their emotions, ideas, preferences. Kitty simply just does not care. It would not disturb, or hinder her if Walter found out about her affair, as she thinks that he is too afraid to do anything about it. Here lies Kitty’s supreme superciliousness, she is so very arrogantly sure of herself that there is no possible chance of something happening that she did not already foresee.

The most conceited of her ideas is that Charlie Townsend is madly in love with her <quote>. Even when Walter confronts her about the affair, and gives her an ultimatum <quote>, Kitty declares that her and Charlie had been planning to get married for a long time. Unfortunatly when she confronts Charlie, he is taken aback and tries to convince Kitty that it would not be wise to do so. Kitty then finally realises Charlie’s true nature; a lying, self-obsessive coward. During Kitty Fane’s time in Mei-Tan Fu, she undergoes a period of enlightenment.

Kitty realises her mistakes; her infidelity and her conceit, and sho she seeks reconcilliation with Walter, who has become cold and distant towards Kitty. This attempt at redemption is admirable from Kitty, and these actions begin to change our opinion of her, from being a deceitful wife to a rueful and caring one. Kitty begins to show love and sympathy towards Walter, sympathy for her misdeeds, and love as she worries about the work load and dangers that he has taken on. Kitty’s friendship with Mr.

Waddington also shows progress of her nature, as she described Waddington as being unsightly <quote>, but nevertheless, she ignored his physical features, and took a liking to his personality. The Kitty Fane of London and Hong Kong would presumably never befriend someone who wasn’t handsome and poweful among esteemed social groups, but Waddington is neither, he is a lowly ??? commisioner??? , unknown to the privileged families. Kitty is now in a sense ‘reborn’. The French nuns play an especially integral role in Kitty’s transformation, especially Mother Superior.


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