Reconstructing identities and escaping trauma in Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Melanie Leah Bussi (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site:
Barbara Waxman

Abstract: In my analysis of Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient I will discuss how identity is reconstructed among four characters who are avoiding many lost aspects of their previous lives in an Italian villa during World War II. By using mainly the tools of postcolonial criticism and new historicism, this thesis will focus on how the characters unsuccessfully try to escape their names/labels, bodies, and places of origin while reconstructing identity. I argue that the novel is mostly about resisting the Eurocentric view of the world, while that it focusing on human relationships and human resilience. Eventually, after the bombs are dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the English patient is assumed by the reader to die in the Italian villa.The surviving characters Kip, Hana, and Caravaggio decide to return to the countries where they were born, where they feel that they belong.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree of Masters of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
Ondaatje Michael 1943- The English patient--Criticism and interpretation
Ondaatje, Michael, 1943- The English patient -- Criticism and interpretation

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