About this sample
About this sample
Words: 435 |
3 min read
Published: Oct 17, 2018
Words: 435|Page: 1|3 min read
Michael Ondaatje’s historical fiction novel, The English Patient, conveys the struggle between love and realism through the dialogue between two characters, Caravaggio and Hana, and the setting of the passage.
In the passage on pages 44-46, Caravaggio and Hana have a dispute over Hana’s relationship with another character, the unnamed English patient. The passage begins with “Caravaggio came into the kitchen to find Hana sitting hunched over the table” (44). The kitchen, specifically the kitchen table, serves as the setting for the passage. The kitchen table is a traditional symbol of family, which is reflects the relationship between Caravaggio and Hana because Caravaggio was a friend of Hana’s deceased father, therefore, he tries to protect her. The setting of the kitchen table reflects the dynamic between Caravaggio and Hana as he is trying to protect her and she, contrastingly, does not want his help and advice.
Another example of the setting of the passage conveying the struggle between love and realism is seen when “She raised herself...then stood up against him as if dragging herself away from the magnet of the table” (44). By standing up against Caravaggio at the kitchen table, Hana is displaying defiance and challenges Caravaggio’s view on her relationship with the English patient. The metaphor of the table being a magnet illustrates the tension between the two characters, using the setting. The setting of the kitchen table develops the struggle between Hana’s love and Caravaggio’s realism.
This idea of the struggle between love and realism is also shown through juxtaposition in the dialogue between the two characters. “‘Why do you adore him so much?’ ‘I love him.’ ‘You don’t love him, you adore him.” (45). The back and forth nature of the dialogue conveys a sense of tension and conflict, while the characters compare love and adoration. The juxtaposition between love and adoration represent the conflict between Hana’s careless love and Caravaggio’s stern realism.
Another example of juxtaposition in dialogue from the passage is “‘You’ve tied yourself to a corpse for some reason.’ ‘He is a saint. I think. A despairing saint.” (45) Caravaggio believes that the English patient is a corpse while Hana glorifies him as a saint. The juxtaposition of these two views on the English patient reflect the conflicting ideals of both characters and the struggle between love and realism.
In conclusion, Ondaatje uses metaphors in setting and juxtaposition in dialogue to convey the conflict and struggle between Hana’s obsessive love for the English patient and Caravaggio’s realistic view of Hana’s situation as a means to protect her from her own love.
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