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Describe The Recurring Use Of Imagery, Motifs, Themes And Ideas In Michael Ondaatje's Novel In The Skin Of A Lion. Explain How Multiple Readings Can Be Concluded From The Book

818 words - 4 pages

When examining a text and its effect, it is important to realise that an audience is composed of multiple individuals, each with their own values and interpretations. In The Skin of a Lion, the novel by Michael Ondaatje is created from a complex range of interwoven storylines, and as a result, can evoke many different interpretations from its readers. These readings are evident among the magnificent web of themes, motifs and characters, spun by Ondaatje.At one stage in the novel, the main character Patrick is said to have "come across a love story. This is only a love story. He does not wish for plot and all its consequences." One senses that this is actually Ondaatje himself speaking, and ...view middle of the document...

Similar to this idea is when Alice tells Patrick "You were born to be a younger brother", and when Patrick admits to being "always comfortable in someone else's landscape".Ondaatje chooses to have his language reflect the state of the characters, as it is only when Patrick accepts responsibility for Hana "I am her father", and when he identifies himself to Commissioner Harris "I'm Patrick Lewis" that he discovers his role, and finds his voice.However, it is not only Patrick who is searching for his voice, Nicholas urged the fallen nun to say something to him, and she, ironically, takes the name of the talking parrot, Alicia. At the same time, Nicholas is given a voice as a storyteller when he tells Patrick about rescuing the nun, "Now he will begin to tell stories".Other characters are also unable to give voice to their feelings, shown by his father calling the dances with an "unemotional tongue", and when the author shows that re-naming the workers with English names takes away their identity.The novel is actually an interconnected web, written from the multiple perspectives of each character as Ondaatje places each in the lion's skin. It is only later that the reader realises how each is connected to...

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