Symbolism in the English Patient Essay examples

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Micheal Ondaatje creates meaning and representation in The English Patient, through the structure of his novel. The author portrays the sequence of events in a non-linear fashion to incorporate them as a puzzle-like story. The puzzle is significant because, the reader is constantly unraveling the novels excerpts together. Symbolism is an important aspect of these passages because, it provides a better understanding of the issues related to the novel such as, destruction, identity, escape, unity, and love.

Fire is used symbolically and has an appearance in the lives of all characters as a destructive element. Once the bomb is dropped on Japan and, "It rolls across cities like a burst map, the hurricane of heat withering bodies as it
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On the other hand, fire is also associated as a cleanser in the condition of the English Patient, where his identity becomes obliterated. The identity of the English Patient is a mystery from the beginning of the novel, since he lives his life as a spy; however, when he is burned he is completely erased of all nationality and begins to go against the English. "What great nation had found him...What country invented such soft dates to be chewed by the man beside him and then passed from that mouth on his." (6), this quotation reflects how the fire has opened up the English Patient into further civilization where no one is labeled or seen as an enemy.

The desert is also a metaphor for identity. It constantly changes and is without borders therefore, it cannot be mapped. Identity is seen in a similar way because, ."..we became nationless. The desert taught me to hate nations," this statement conveys the idea that people are not defined by nations, thus people are indefinable and changing. The image of the desert and water is portrayed together, especially in relation to the English Patient. The English Patient is linked with the desert, while Katharine is continuously associated with water. In order to survive in a desert, water is essential. This combination of water and desert reflects the importance of…