SYA English, 6th Period
March 7th, 2013
The Villa is Alive, But the Sand is Forever
Barren. Lifeless. Considered one of the most hostile environments on the planet, the Sahara Desert takes away all meaning and identity and covers it with sand. Amalsy, the so-called English Patient and one of the central characters of our story, thrusts himself into this empty land to dispose of the idea of nations. In this way the desert is an escape; a common void for those who wish to cede into the past rather than survive in the present. Lush. Alive. Arguably the nation with the richest history in the world, the Italian countryside encompasses a feeling of togetherness that brings our four main characters together. The villa they live in recovering from the atrocities of world war two not only gives them space to heal, but also itself exhibits the characteristics of healing through nature. In this way the villa exists among our four protagonists, and is one of the fragmented victims of war along with them. Michael Ondaatje, author of our novel The English Patient, focuses most of our front story in the Italian villa. Holes line the inner and outer walls, creating voids in the frescoes of outdoor landscapes. At first glance, war has reduced it to a fraction of its former grace and beauty. “The Villa San Girolamo, built to protect inhabitants from the flesh of the devil, had the look of a besieged fortress, the limbs of most of the statues blown off during the first days of shelling.” But as is a representative of a war victim healing with time, we see how nature slowly replaces the man made structures, eventually causing the villa to fade into the land. “There seemed little demarcation between house and landscape, between damaged building and the burned and shelled remnants of the earth. To Hana the wild gardens were further rooms… In spite of the burned earth, in spite of the lack of water. someday there would be a bower of...