Mr. Know-All Dealing with prejudice and stereotypes

It's human nature to judge people based on some set beliefs or lifestyle. We are used to instantaneously stereotyping people by their appearance and behaviour before getting to know them. However, judgments based on opinions and attitudes are often misleading.

What can help us discover a person real worth? Let's immerse in the atmosphere of the story and find out what it feels like to be prejudiced and change your opinion, to be depreciated and stand out, to be caught in a lie and avoid punishment, and what it actually means to be a gentleman.

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Classes: 11th Grade - 12th Grade
Contributors : Dr. Anastasia Shevtsova


Familiarity with the short story Mr. Know-All by William Somerset Maugham.

Dr. Anastasia Shevtsova

Get to know the characters

  • William S. Maugham

    You are a British playwright, novelist, and short story writer.

    You were born in the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Paris, France. When you were ten, your parents died, so you were sent to Britain to be raised by an emotionally cold paternal uncle. You were trained and qualified as a physician, but had always wanted to be a writer. After the raving success of your first novel, you gave up medicine to write full-time. 

    During the First World War you served in France as a member of the British Red Cross. After the war you travelled a lot in search for inspiration for your novels.

  • Max Kelada

    You were born in Egypt, which was part of the British colony at that time, into a family of a local merchant and an English teacher from London, who was performing her contract in Cairo. 

    At the age of nine, you were taken to London, where you were educated and employed at a small pearl business. After working there for ten consecutive years and getting a serious experience in the field, you established your own company specializing in trading cultured pearls worldwide.

    At your age you are already a successful and well-off businessman settled in New York and are going to do business with Japanese suppliers.

  • Mr Elmer Ramsay

    You were born in a rural area in the Middle West and raised in a farm. Your ambition to make your way in life was a driving force which helped you receive a good education and get employment in the diplomatic service. 

    You are married to a pretty woman from a good family of bankers. You have a house, two children, a dog, and a servant who helps your wife about the house.

    You've just been on a short vacation in New York and are going back to Kobe to resume your post. This time you are taking your wife with you after a year of living apart. 

  • Mrs Ramsay

    You were born into a family of bankers in Richmond, Virginia. You attended the University of Virginia and had an ambition to become a lawyer. But your father arranged a marriage for you, so you never graduated. 

    Your husband Elmer is eight years older than you and is very dogmatic. He never takes into account your personal opinion when making decisions. You doubt that he ever loved you.

  • Dr Gary Fisher

    You were born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and raised in a family greatly interested in science. You did your first degree in physics at Cornell University, but was drawn to the world of psychology by a course in animal psychology under the professorship of Edward B. Titchener, a famous British psychologist at the time. On one test you received back, the professor had even written "You have the psychological point of view!" Since then, psychology has always been your major interest.

    You always take notes in order to assemble psychological profiles of people you happen to be around while travelling. You use those notes in your research work. This time you are on vacation travelling to Japan on board the liner.


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