Analysis Of The Novel ' A Number Of Themes '

1508 WordsApr 14, 20177 Pages
In the novel, a number of themes have been outlined by Ondaatje such as race, ethnicity, identity, history, nationalism, Western colonialism, romance, war, and the human body. The setting also shifts to different locations such as Cairo, deserts in Africa and England. The problem of identity is one of the most important issues for the post-modern epoch. The English Patient is a novel that questions the nation and nationalism that shape identities through colonial and anti-colonial nationalisms. The English Patient has the resonance of the myth of the Egyptian traveller in the form of the central character Almasy who is a reservoir of the fragmented accounts of expeditions through deserts. The characters are all exiles from their homeland…show more content…
It is through our sense of identity that we identify ourselves as members of various ethnic groups or nations as well as social classes which provide us with a sense of belonging. Likewise, nations are communities which provide a sense of belonging through the individual’s feeling of connectedness to his or her fellow men. In other words, individuals think that they are a part of one collective body, namely, a community known as nation, which is in fact an idea, defined by Benedict Anderson as “an imagined political community”. The survival of nations depend upon invention and performance of traditions, histories, symbols which help people sustain their identity. However, it mostly depends on nationality, traditions and narration of history, which are central elements. Therefore, national history is important in the sense that it narrates the past as a common experience that belongs to a community. It creates one particular version of the past and identity to constitute a common past and a collective identity of any given community. In other words, nations are “imaginary communities,” to use Benedict Anderson‘s phrase, and nationalism is based on the very concept of a unified imaginary community. Furthermore, nations also provide people
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