College Reading and Writing 110
August 11, 2010
The English Patient
Michael Ondaatje’s book The English Patient was published in 1992. At first this book would appear to be a mystery at first, but at heart it is a story of romance, growing up, and the war. This book takes place at an abandoned villa in Italy toward the end of World War II. Due to the authors writing style he flip flops between characters and settings though out the book making it confusing for some and intriguing for others.
The story begins in a villa in Italy, with the nurse, Hana, taking care of a man who had been gruesomely burned in a plane crash as a result of the war. She has been taking care of the man for months and she doesn’t even know the man’s name, due to his accent she simply refers to him as the English patient. One of their days alone Hana discovers that when the plane crashed the Bedouins discovered him and instead of killing him, they had kept him alive to expose the secrets of the desert. While this was going on a thief named Caravaggio came upon some nurses where he was staying talking about Hana and her burn victim. Apparently Caravaggio had grown up with Hana and it seems like he senses that he knows the patient, so he makes a trip to go see them.
When he arrives Hana seems skeptical about him staying because of the lack of food, but lets him stay anyways. This is when Caravaggio notices how much Hana looks like his wife so he becomes interested in her. The problem with that is, she was too emotionally attached to the patient, looking at him like a saint, there was no way she could have a relationship with Caravaggio. While Hana was playing the piano a few days later, two soldiers appeared in the library. After a while Hana began to trust Caravaggio and she explained to him why she’s so detached since she became pregnant then the father died so she decides to get an abortion, then shortly after that her father died, this was when he was sure he could get her....
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