Fallen Women: Land, Nature, and Memsahibs in Maugham’s Southeast Asian Stories


  • Gayatri Thanu Pillai National University of Singapore
  • Chitra Sankaran National University of Singapore


This paper explores ways in which reconfigurations of agency can be identified in the representation of women, nature, and other subdominant groups in Som- erset Maugham’s Southeast Asian stories. Through their power to affect the phys- ical and emotional well-being of white settlers, native women and nature emerge as agentic. Thus they realign their assigned place within oppressive systems of domination whereas white women are placed in emotionally and physically pre- carious spaces. Using postcolonial, ecocritical, and ecofeminist concepts, this pa- per explores connections between human culture and non-human nature. Maugham’s texts are examined from posthumanist and material feminist perspec- tives to unearth ways in which both human and the non-human subaltern coun- teract or contend with marginalisation. Our study foregrounds the contested and fraught spaces that white and native women were forced to negotiate in colonial settlements.


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How to Cite

Gayatri Thanu Pillai, & Chitra Sankaran. (2021). Fallen Women: Land, Nature, and Memsahibs in Maugham’s Southeast Asian Stories. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 15(2), 30–46. Retrieved from https://journals.iium.edu.my/asiatic/index.php/ajell/article/view/2342