Postmodernism In The English Patient

Powerful Essays
Fragmented Humanity -Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient, through the lens of Postmodernism Fragmentation, being the major tool of Postmodernism; the concept of fragmented identity has its due importance. The humanity was in a great search for identity after the World War II. Michael Ondaatje's novel The English Patient reads the pulse of the postmodern era. The idea of fragmentation is dealt exclusively in the novel. The distinct nature of post modernity is analyzed through the various forms of fragmentation employed in the novel. The ideology of postmodernism seems very much like modernism. But in the case fragmentation, the dividing line occurs. In modernism fragmentation is mourned and is lamented over. Postmodernism, in contrast,…show more content…
“Identity is a construct: the ways an individual understands what it is to belong to a certain gender, race or culture. Identity is initially constructed by the discourses operating in society which naturalises certain ways of knowing what it is to belong to this social group. In The English Patient Ondaatje writing in the 1990’s about the Second World War questions the very notions of identity, showing how the dominant discourse of Western imperialism and civilisation have dispossessed those people of different races and cultural…show more content…
At the outset of the novel the reader learns that the patient does not know who he is, even though Hana keeps asking him that all the time. The enquiry into the patient’s identity is continued by Caravaggio, who has his own suspicions about the burned-beyond-recognition pilot. He thinks that the English patient is not an Englishman at all, but the notable African explorer Count Almásy, who was the German spy-guide in the desert during the war. He is very anxious about identifying the patient, while Hana is merely curious, though their aim is the same – to learn who he really is. The answer seems to be at hand – they just have to follow his stories and organize them into a logical and unified chronology. For the stories of the English patient do not come in a chronological way. His mind flashes backward and forward under the influence of morphine, and it is in those flashes that the story of his life is revealed. As a matter of fact, other characters have the same way of telling their stories as well. Thus the text of the novel is composed of many mini-narratives that disclose the lives of the four characters before their meeting in Italy. This postmodernist manner of text-creation reminds one of a
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