The English Patient — страница 2

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bed, I think that Kip is my David.? This refers to both the story of David and Goliath and the painting by David Carravaggio. In the painting David hold the head of an old Goliath; youth always holds the head of old. This symbolise the age of imperialism is over. Kip, the Indian, is young, holding the aged head of Imperialistic values. The Last of the Mohicans is primarily concerned with the take over of American by the English and the wholesale massacre of a race. This intertexual reference draws attention to other periods of time when the English have disregarded cultures different from their own, covering the mores of the people and dispossessing them of there language and traditions. This helps to highlight and criticise Imperialistic values by presenting them in such a way

that the reader sympathises with the plights of both the Native Americans and the Indians, as opposed to feeling support for the Imperial case. Kim, by Rudyard Kipling, is another text referred to in the novel, and tells of the oppression of the Indian people. A young Irish boy is taught and guided by a Tibetan lama in the novel, Kim. This demonstrates that Asians, and indeed people of all cultures have ?worthy? knowledge and deserve to be treated with dignity, not dispossessed of their language and culture. Kim also acknowledges the vital nature of maps when colonising other countries. Symbolism is an essential aspect of the novel, and fundamental in constructing meaning. Fire is a used symbolically throughout the text and has great political significance, symbolising the

geographical and governmental forces that play a part in all the characters lives. This concept reaches an apex when the A-bomb is dropped on Japan and Kip ?sees the streets of Asia full of fire.? He consequently gains a realisation of the trickery, and deception by the English, the ?dealmakers?; people he no longer strives to be like, no longer loves. This climax also symbolises the complete devastation that fire can bring, this being previously foreshadowed by the people of the villa, all of whom have been damaged by fire. Love is represented by fire throughout the novel. The relationship between Katherine and the English Patient is portrayed as an overwhelming passion of fire, this in turn, translates to the literal fire which occurs upon Clifton?s learning of the affair. Hana

and Kips relationship is also scarred by fire; when the A-bomb is dropped on Japan, Kip comes to be unable to continue a relationship with a European, who he believes are all ?dealmakers?, not worthy of trust. Ironically, while fire can be seen as a scarring destructive force, it is also portrayed as a cleanser. ?Erase the family name! Erase nations!? The English Patient comes to hate nations while in the desert, yet he is still ?poisoned? by identity, he can be recognised and identified with a type of people. However, when he is burned he is cleansed of he identifiable nationality, indeed, much of the novel is centred on the discovery of his origins. Diametrically opposed, yet inextricably entwined, is the image of water and the desert. The English Patient is associated with the

desert and fire, while Katharine is constantly referred to in connection with water. In order to endure both the desert and fire, water is vital, much like the English Patients desire for Katharine; she is a vital aspect of his life. However, right from the beginning their relationship was destined to end, it could not last. Katharine had only a ?temporary passion for the desert?, she was a separate element, essential to survival, yet she was unable to endure the dryness, she was ?a ghost between your hands and your mouth.? The desert is also a metaphor for identity. It is constantly changing; it is indefinable and cannot be mapped. Identity can be seen in the same way. ??we became nationless. The desert taught me to hate nations,? this statement portrays the idea that people are

not defined by their nation, by the man-made borders constructed, people are changing and as indefinable as the desert. In the desert there are no nations, or boundaries to catalyse war, in the desert there is peace, this is how the English Patient believes people should be, without borders and boundaries, free without the constructed limitations of nations. Books are used constantly as symbols throughout the novel. When a step leading to the English Patients room is damaged, she hammers books together and creates new stairs. This symbolises how books can be used to reach out to others and understand them better. The references and symbolism of books also creates the idea that people are the narratives they live. Hana uses books as a way out; she immerses herself in the text and