The English Patient — страница 3

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escapes. The notion put forward her is that narratives construct our lives, ?she fell upon books as the only door out of her cell. They became half her world.? In this quote from the novel, Hana becomes so engrossed in the book she comes to be living a narrative. Maps are used in the book both literally and symbolically. Maps give places names, identify them with a particular country, according to how they are named; it asserts ownership over the land. While the English Patient hates nationalism, he ironically was a mapmaker, this aids in constructing the English Patient as everything English. In the novel maps are portrayed in a critical way. They are shown to create artificial borders, and indeed, are the catalysts for war. Maps are also used to symbolise the destruction of

?other? cultures (i.e. those that are not English); mapping over one culture with another, the way the English mapped over the Indian people, dispossessing them of everything, even names of geographical sites. ?Give me a map and I?ll build you a city,? the English Patient claims. This quotation suggests that with a map the English can colonise any country, they can build their cities everywhere. This also puts forth the idea that with a ?map?, or knowledge of what the inhabitants of the colonised country are like, English concepts and values may be built into the people, loved and accepted by the people. Religion is referred to many times in the novel. It is depicted as an irrelevant construction of man, yet something that can still be vital and indeed useful if the regulations

are broken away. ?She dragged a six foot cross from the chapel and put it in the garden,? in this Hana has used a once useless sign of religion for beneficial. This suggests that religion, when incorporated into everyday life can be of great value, however when it is used simply for worship it is of no significance. ?Then he was anointed,? in the desert herbs are used to dress the English Patients wounds, to anoint him. This is another example of where religion related items are used in practical applications. The setting, primarily the villa, works on many symbolic levels. It is a refuge, a place of healing for damaged people. All of the characters are in some way damaged by the war. The villa has previously been a nunnery and a hospital, places of healing for the soul and for

the body. It is a place where there are no borders and boundaries, people from all areas on the world live in relative happiness and harmony. It is under these conditions that the characters can be healed. ?She turns into the room which is another garden,? there are no boundaries in the villa, the inside is out and the outside can come in, yet there is harmony and healing. This presentation of the villa supports the English Patients contention that there ought not to be borders, that boundaries are the reasons for international unrest and pain. The English Patient also believes that the villa is the same villa where Poliziano lived during the Renaissance. Traditionally it was the meeting place of the old and the new. This is the same for the period of time during which the novel

is set; again the villa can be viewed as a meeting place for old and new. The English Patient represents old colonial values, while Kip represents the end of Imperialism occurring in 1947; under the villa roof these two meet, old and new. The burned body of the English Patient is of great importance to the novel. The charred body is symbolic of both identity and Imperialism. ?Erase the family name! Erase nations,? these are the English Patients sentiments regarding national identity. Through the fire he has lost his identity, he has lost that which branded him with a nation. Thus the English Patients body is symbolic of a nationless, borderless world, he became like his beloved desert, when he plunged, burning into it; he has no identity. His burnt body also symbolism the burnt

out Imperialistic discourse. His wounds and consequent death foreshadow and symbolise the reclamation of many third world countries by the original inhabitants. In 1947 the English are expelled from India, this is symbolised by the death of the English Patient. Stories are often told multiple times in a The English Patient, defying the conventional use of linear events. The English Patients tells the story of the Cave of Swimmers three times, each time adding to or changing part of the account. This gives the impression that perhaps the reader is not always given the ?truth? regarding the sequence of events. It also proposes that human memory may deceive even the owner of such memories. The lack of linearity of events reveals that actions do not merely take place one at a time in