in the skin of a lion

Powerful Essays
Topics: Marxism, Sociology
Michael Ondaatje’s novel, In the Skin of a Lion, can be said to have textual integrity as a result of the way in which the composer has shaped this novel, through a variety of techniques employed. Textual integrity itself can be said to embody a timelessness in literature: that is, good literature is shaped by its textual integrity, reflected in the ways in which values within a text are presented, as well as the universality of themes discussed.
Setting exists in three spheres that are often seen to intersect, these spheres being Location, Time, and Critical Influence. And, further to this, any text that recreates the past especially when postmodernism is an accepted influence involves two intersecting fields of time: The author’s own, and that in which they delineate the events of their work.
Construction of a work that can be said to have textual integrity and hence be considered a model of good literature, or literature of timeless value, is therefore complicated when a post-modern style is employed that attempts to construct a text adequately flexible to accommodate the creation of new meaning in a way that accurately reflects the values of a period now elapsed.
Ondaatje’s novel, In the Skin of a Lion, is one such text: it creates layered meaning, employing a form true to the post-modern ideal that is, rejection of a mandate that meaning must be created through textual delineation, as meaning in a post-modernist form can be constructed in any number of ways, though the nature of this meaning is malleable – whilst depicting eventsthat preceded the advent of such an ideology.
Inherently, this poses challenges: However, used effectively, juxtaposition of historical content and critical perspective of this period against contemporary influences in the sphere of critical theory can yield in literature a quality that is best described as timeless – it creates an integrity that spans ideologies and events, and transforms the narrative into an overarching vessel

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