The English Patient

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  • Topic: Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient, 1992 in literature
  • Pages : 3 (1189 words )
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  • Published : May 22, 2013
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The English Patient is a novel by Michael Ondaatje first released in 1992, a story set in World War One. It is work of historical fiction, a tale on the lives of four people who are brought together by a burnt man who fell from the sky. All connected by secrets and sins of their past in relation to the war. Alone, with no body else but each other living in an Italian Villa. Through the use of sensory imagery, narrative structure and various forms of diction, the author Michael Ondaatje has conveyed both the physical and emotional disorientation and distress of the English Patient.

The author of the novel has used personification, metaphors, ambiguous pronouns and imagery to represent the disorientation of the English Patient. ‘Where was he? What civilization was this that understood the predictions of weather and light? El Ahmar or El Abyadd.’ The English Patient does not know where he is, after ‘being caught out of the sky’ he is taken care of by desert tribes. He has found him self in a state of confusion. Disorder. Ondaatje uses several techniques of writing in order to make us feel bewildered ourselves. An example would be when we are exposed to the sounds that trouble the English Patient, ‘’One night he heard what seemed to be wind chimes high in the air, and after a whole it stopped and he fell asleep with a hunger for it, that noise like the slowed-down sound from the throat of a bird, perhaps flamingo or a desert fox, which one the men kept in a sewn-half-closed pocket in his burnoose.’’ Reading this makes us wonder why he would chose to use these particular animals after writing about the sound of a bird, why is he using a flamingo in the setting of a desert. With the use of sensory imagery and ambiguity he is making us feel lost in order to understand what the English Patient is going through, physically and emotionally disoriented.

Another technique that is used all through out the passage is ambiguous pronouns, this again is done so we feel...
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