Michael Ondaatje's Booker Prize–winning best seller lyrically portrays the convergence of four damaged lives in a bomb-riddled Italian villa. PDF | On Jan 1, , Ahmad M. S. Abu Baker and others published Maps in Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient. Women in Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient As Michael Ondaatje is one of the Canadian post-colonial writers, this thesis begins.
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Abstract. The following essay reads Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient, published in. , against Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (). Defoe's novel. [PDF BOOK] The English Patient READ ONLINE By Michael Ondaatje With unsettling beauty and intelligence, Michael Ondaatje's Booker. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje, Jakob Mortensen, 17 December The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje While slowly sinking deeper into my.
The call of the void and his total disregard for death becomes the allure which draws her into his arms at night. Their union is not merely bodies that unite, but souls that find peace. Playful and otherly as he is, she is drawn to him and longs to hide in him. She the soft, the hurting girl.
This becomes the picture of love in the novel, and why my stomach moves in me while reading. Such a human, soft and painful depiction draws me in and I feel like I am in love myself.
As I read, the English patient begins to tell his three friends in the monastery about his past, a past with desert romances and spies.
Here love becomes a kind of intimate pain that is shared between himself and the woman with whom he has an affair. As she has taken the blood from his hand when he cut himself cooking for her. The novel abounds in such alluring and poetic scenes. All of this is in the past, in a flashback narrated by the English patient who it turns out is really Hungarian and works for the Germans.
Kip also has a flashback to his time in England in the beginning of the war and also to his childhood in India before the war. The single moment in the monastery takes on significance as it becomes the seedbed of the future.
Likewise, the lengthy past of the several characters only come to fruition in their meeting in the monastery where their stories merge to produce a moment of magic.
The novel seems as one long moment, a moment in which the past and the future is incapsulated in the present. The moment finds its most powerful expression in the sexual tension and act, in particular between Hana and Kip. The weight and significance of their union comes from what it represents. The descriptions of the bodily features are only matched by the landscape which they also symbolize.
Kip is Asia. A frustrated, almost revolting India whose humble service turns to rebellion in the end. Their love is landscapes, countries, cultures encountering each other. Their relationship captures colonization and decolonization. The incessant fixation on naming and owning body parts, collarbone, vasculara sizood, shins, ribs, hips, penis.
The political reading, however, must not be overemphasized to the detriment of the illusive, existentialist essence of the novel. It is a novel about people who meet each other and try to find meaning in a world of suffering. It is a novel of illusiveness and mystery in which eroticism and humanity, history and the present merge to produce a deeply human, earthy and seductive story. Related Papers.
But the thing that impressed me most as I read the book this time around is its hard centre. It may come wrapped in musky perfume, but Ondaatje's prose could go a few rounds with Hemingway and probably knock out Kipling, too.
The latter is a comparison the author audaciously invites. At one point Hana reads the patient an extract from Kim: "He sat, in defiance of municipal orders, astride the gun Zamzamah on her brick platform opposite the old Ajaib-Gher — the Wonder House, as the natives call the Lahore Museum. Who hold Zam-Zammah, that 'fire-breathing dragon', hold the Punjab; for the great green-bronze piece is always first of the conqueror's loot.
Watch carefully where the commas fall so you can discover the natural pauses. He is a writer who used pen and ink. He looked up from the page a lot, I believe, stared through his window and listened to birds, as most writers who are alone do.
Some do not know the names of birds, though he did. Your eye is too quick and North American. Think about the speed of his pen. What an appalling, barnacled old first paragraph it is otherwise. There are far brighter pyrotechnics in the book.
But it's a good example of how hard Ondaatje's writing works. It works firstly because it's spot on: try and read that quote with and without commas. It works thematically: immediately you start thinking about empire and its impact, about the Orient, about adventure, about how much Kipling himself lost in war.
It works because it illuminates the polymath English patient: he's just the sort of man to have an opinion on how to read Kipling — and to be right about it.
It works — craftily — as a guide to reading Ondaatje himself: The English Patient too should be taken slowly and with careful attention to rhythm. And so it is throughout the book.
You get the sense that every word is straining and bursting with meaning. Every word has been made to labour as well as delight. Everything is turned up to Everything, in short, works.
Or almost everything. I should also note that some of the novel has come in for criticism. Most notably, there have been objections to the way the book ends, with the detonation of the bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Some have said that it seems rather tacked on — and it's true that the bombs do have a strange and unsettling impact at the culmination of the narrative.
Personally, I felt that to be true to the brutal way the bombs cut short the war, but it isn't an easy termination. There has also been controversy — particularly in the US — about the following remark: "They would never have dropped such a bomb on a white nation. Possibly because it's too true.