The Verger – Case Study
THE VERGER by W. Somerset Maugham 1. What is the kind of behaviour of the verger in the first part of the story? Give examples The first part of the story presents the verger as a compliant man, anxious to exercise his profession in the best way possible. The care with which he maintains his clothes shows all his hard work and dedication. Still, the verger remains a humble and simple man who enjoys the simple pleasures of life, like a glass of beer with his dinner. 2. Would you qualify him as an entrepreneur? Why? In the beginning the verger does not appear as a man to whom we would lend qualities of an entrepreneur.
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It is not risky to be verger of St Peter, so in sixteen years he never thought to question himself. Furthermore, Church Ministry professions do not necessarily match with the idea we can have of what would be entrepreneur activities. However, it is clear that after his dismissal he has managed to create a successful business from scratch and without even knowing how to read and write. Then one can consider that the verger is not only an entrepreneur but also a talented and successful one. 3. What was his method to find his idea?
The idea that transformed the verger a rich entrepreneur was not written in a newspaper article (which would have allowed the first well-read player to become a rich man). It probably was not taught in the school where the new vicar was educated (otherwise the vicar would have resigned and asked the verger to stay verger). Or maybe it was God himself who had decided to thank the verger for his sixteen years of dedicated work! Or maybe not… The method that allowed the verger to find his idea is that he has successfully reinvented himself. The shock he suffered in his dismissal challenged him to think differently.
During all the years he served the ministry and he provided an exemplary job, the verger was a compliant worker. Maybe he thought it was the best way to a reliable living, but the fundamental shift happened and the game was changed. 4. What is the impact of education in this story? Education occupies a central place in this story, but not necessarily the one you might think. The verger is illiterate. In other word, common wisdom would say he is at the bottom of the social hierarchy, completely dependent on others and unable to undertake his own affairs.
This story shows just the opposite. These are not shortcomings in the verger that you see but its ability to stand out. Education creates average people. The verger is creative, original perhaps even a genius. Years ago, when he was the age at which one learns to read and write, he decided that it was not for him and probably there was no access when it was needed. Nevertheless, he managed to have a life similar to that of literate people. Conversely, despite all his education, the vicar is incapable of recognizing that the verger is able to exercise his profession.
The problem is that the verger steps out of line, bends the rules and does not follow the curriculum. But mostly the verger understood something that is not taught in schools and is instead reprimanded. That is the ability to fail. You have to fail to reinvent yourself. You have to fail often to learn what you need to learn and to challenge yourself. 5. What is the real meaning of this story? What are the potential implications in real life? Give examples? This story tells you to challenge yourself. Don’t be another cog in the machine because the machine is down.
The verger was quite a good verger at St Peter’s, Neville Square and yet he was referred. We all are this verger. We all have this stubborn and rebellious side that pushes us out of the line. So don’t be afraid to cross it and to discard what you think you know. You have to learn, and to learn you have to fail. Obviously there are many examples of people who had been laid off. But after that there are also examples of people who get creative with their own lives like the verger did : http://www. lemonademovie. com/about/cast. php