Significance of Honesty In the Skin of a Lion

Topics: Truth, Present tense, Past tense Pages: 3 (1375 words) Published: October 1, 2014
Significance of Honesty
Michael Ondaatje a Sri Lankan born Canadian novelist and poet is known for his writings The English Patient, In the Skin of a Lion and his many poems. During In the Skin of a Lion he adopts the cubist approach to the novel by breaking the story up into fragments each told from their own point of view. Each fragment is a memory taken from the characters to express their voice. The collections of vignettes not only give their authors honest opinion of their actions and their impression of the classes around them, but their dreams also are significant in emphasising honesty through their use by Ondaatje to create ambiguity between reality and dreams. The post-modern form is what allows the scattered assortment of memoirs to emphasise the significance of honesty in this novel. Michael Ondaatje's In the Skin of a Lion is a story, broken up by him to reflect the nature of memories. The key structural themes in this novel are the fragmentation of form and ambiguity of reference frame. "...as Caravaggio sleeps, his head thrown back, witnessing a familiar nightmare" The passive imagery as Caravaggio is 'thrown' back and the present tense of 'witnessing' gives the impression of exactly that; that Caravaggio along with the reader is just a witness. This stresses the non-linear structure of the novel and reveals Caravaggio's truth, that he as a "master of disguise" and is an invisible spectator in his own memories. Ondaatje divulges this revealing that Caravaggio's true self is an artist, not a thief. "In this light, and with all the small panes of glass around her, she was inside a diamond, mothlike on the edge of kerosene, caught in the centre of all the faucets." The imagery of the light being refracted by the diamond and glass is used by Ondaatje with light being a metaphor for truth is an analogy of how all lives have been refracted through so many glass panes and diamonds that we can no longer find their source, which is the ambiguity of...
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