This Essay About The Novel Anil's Ghost, By Micheal Ondaatje.

1319 words - 5 pages

In the novel Anil's Ghost, by Micheal Ondaatje, it is demonstrated that one of the main themes is the fact that a persons identity is not constant throughout his/her life. It grows and changes as the person does. The author demonstrates this by using Anil's friend Leif, and sailor as symbols, as well as through certain events in the character of Anil's life.One of the way the author demonstrates the theme of the novel, the idea that a persons identity is always changing, is through the character of Leif. In the novel, it is said, on page 254, “When Leif left Arizona, Anil didn't hear from her for more than six months... Leif... was her closest friend.” This quote makes it clear that six months without hearing from Leif is troubling to Anil. It reinforces the point that Anil and Leif are very good friends. Leif is used as a symbol for identity. The friendship between her Anil earlier is fun-filled. “Anil left a snapshot on her fridge of the two of them dancing at some party, this woman who had been her echo, who watched movies with her in her backyard.”(p.255) This time in Leif's life is used to represent one stage of her identity. Although Anil had not spoken to Leif in six months she still remembered the fun times they had together in the same way that a young girl who hasn't played with dolls in years still remembers all the fun she had doing so. Later in their friendship, the Leif she knew becomes a memory, and a new Leif gradually comes into play. The one that sends strange cryptic messages in the form of postcards with no writing. This represents a new identity. It is not entirely separate from the old one, as they still maintain some similarities, for example Leif's habit of illegally using people's phone lines. “As a teenager Leif had made long-distance calls on Sammy Davis Jr.'s stolen phone number.” (p255) Leif has a trait when she is young and when she is older, just like an identity. While it for the most part is different as one gets older, some parts remain the same. Later in their relationship, Anil discovers that Leif has Alzheimer’s, and has serious trouble remembering anything. This is another stage of identity. Since identity is formed in part by experiences and memories, Leif's loss of memory changes her identity completely. While she can remember some things like the fact that Anil “always thought Cherry Valance would die”(p.256), it is only when she is reminded and even then has trouble with the memory. This is in the same way that someone who is told that they often cried a lot as a child would have trouble with such a reminder. They may remember vaguely, but it is no longer a part of their identity. The author shows that Leif is a symbol for identity, in order to demonstrate the theme of the novel.Another way the author demonstrates the theme of the novel, is by using sailor as a symbol. Sailor, like Leif is also used to represent identity. When Anil and Sarath begin working on...

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