In every story the first chapter is usually essential for any book to be successful. It is necessary that in the very beginning, a few things need to be set right away that will create a prosperous book. Some authors realize that it is also advisable to make it that the first chapter ties most of the story together. Michael Ondaatje obviously new this when writing his novel. So he crafted a first chapter that did just this. The Villa sets the story up for an amazing novel, The English Patient.
Michael Ondaatje starts the reader off in a villa in Italy towards the end of World War II. This villa, Villa San Girolamo (7), gives the reader the main of the scene of the rest of the book. The villa gives a very intriguing scene for the story to take place in. The entire building is tattered and damaged by bombshells that it had received during battles against the Germans before the villa was taken by the allies and turned into a war hospital.
“Some rooms could not be entered because of rubble. One bomb crater allowed moon and rain into the library downstairs – where there was in one corner a permanently soaked armchair. ”(8)
Later, the field hospital was deserted for all except the English Patient and Hana. Just regarding the villa Ondaatje introduces to the reader a main theme that is explored later in the novel. This theme shows that the villa itself serves as a comparison toward the people who are living there. Each and every person who is taking refuge or will take refuge there is tattered and torn by the war just like the villa had. However through the telling of the story each person gets a little better and will have healed a little from the war, just like the villa with its removing of bombs and ruminates of the war. This theme is presented a numerous amount of times later in the book and gives the reader a very intriguing aspect of all the characters. This setting is just one of the many aspects of the first chapter that sets the novel up for an amazing story.
While in the villa another setting is introduced to the reader, the desert. This desert is the setting for the English Patient. It is where the reader will find out more and more about who the English Patient is and what he has come form. The setting first starts off with the English Patient recalling the time after his crash with the desert people, Bedouin who cared for him before he was sent back to the allies. (5) This setting is used very often, especially later in the story. It reviles to the reader who the English Patient is and what type of person he is. When it is first introduced, the setting of the desert doesn’t seem like much but Ondaatje cleverly sets it up to intrigue the reader and to later use it to develop the character of the English Patient.
In chapter one, The Villa, we are also introduced to tow of the main characters. The first of which is Hana. In the first chapter, Hana is described to the read as nurse who decided to stay...