The English Patient

Topics: Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient, Character Pages: 1 (431 words) Published: January 7, 2013
Ondaatje is a man full of different nationalities and backgrounds that highlight his path of life. His various experiences have him well equipped to write a novel full of excitement and drama. His twentieth century novel, The English Patient, focuses on the struggles one faces in times of disorder. Throughout the novel, the main character, Hana, faces instances that show the reader her inner and outer turmoil from the events during the war. Ondaatje allows the characters in his novel to come to the realization that in order to survive they must trust those around them, which can only be achieved by first trusting themselves. In the English Patient by Michael Ondaatje, Hana strives to find herself in the ruins of what has become life through symbolism, conflict, and irony to convey the effects of war. Almasy is a burned patient, distinguished by his “black body, beginning at the destroyed feet…beyond purple…bone” (3). His slim chance of survival represents Hana last chance to get rid of her accumulated guilt. As a nurse, Hana treats many patients, but because of the event of war, she has the misery of watching the deaths of brave soldiers’ right before her eyes. These incidents have proven her unworthy in her own perception and have made her question her existence as a nurse. When given the option to leave behind the state of war and move on with her life, Hana chose to stay behind and nurse a helpless English patient unlikely to continue to exist. She takes his responsibility and indirectly vows to care for him until she physically is unable. Hana’s a hard time seeing her capability because of the unending war and gives her chances to prove her capability through the characters in the novel. Hana’s inability to form a real relationship leads up to the bomb incident that reveals her true intentions regarding herself. She seemed unafraid when she “didn’t move away” and witnessed Kip defusing the bomb hesitantly. It was ironic that “[Hana] thought [she] was going...
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