Literature and Life: Of Human Bondage and Beyond


In the novel Of Human Bondage , the reader comes across a truly
magnificent quote on page 627. This quote is: "He had lived always in the
future, and the present always, always had slipped through his fingers." In and
of itself, this is a very powerful quote. However, it can be given even more
power and significance if a person can relate this quote to their own life and
experiences. I myself, after reading this quote, was instantly able to identify
with it.
This quote describes the middle school years and my early high school
years almost perfectly. Many nights I would find myself staying in, watching TV,
doing one thing or another around my house. I would almost never leave the
house and I had nothing that could even remotely be called a social life. My
reason for doing this to myself was that I spent most of my time thinking about
my future and wishing for it to come. I had almost no kind of happiness for
where I was or what I was doing in the present. I cut myself off from the
outside world. I was rather shy around other people (I still am, admittedly)
and I had very few friends.
It was not too long before I discovered the faults in my erroneous
living. I finally realized, and truly not a moment too soon, that if I did not
start living for the present, my future would soon become my neglected present.
I would have wasted my life doing meaningless things and I would have no
experience to share with anyone who may be interested in the uneventful life I
had led. After I came to this startling revelation, I grew even more apathetic
in my depression. I truly felt that there was nothing I could do to remedy this
situation and was at a total loss for solutions. Soon enough, though, I
concluded that there was no alternative to hard work to change the current state
of affairs in my life. It was then that I truly embarked on the most difficult
journey of my life thus far. This being the journey of self-alteration and
successfully changing my own behavioral patterns.
My changes that I\'ve done to myself have been quite noticeable to those
people who\'ve known me for a great number of years. The fear of losing my
present and, indirectly, losing my future has fueled this radical change. There
are many strings that still bind me to my former self, but for the most part I
believe I am truly a different person than I was but a few years ago. Several
factors have been most beneficial in my quest for a new me. I attribute both my
greater and greater involvement in the music I listen to and to my friends, who
I think have experienced a similar transformation, but perhaps for different
reasons.
In conclusion, when W. Somerset Maugham stated that everyone could find
themselves in Of Human Bondage he was quite accurate. I know this holds true
for me with the quote stated above and in many other occurrences through the
duration of the novel. Philip, the main character of the novel, almost loses
much of his present, and almost the rest of his future, by the end of the book.
However, he does realize the errors in his ways and changes his life. I\'m truly
happy that I was able to accomplish this as well because having no future is a
terrible thing.

Category: English