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Visual Imagery In The English Patient, By Michael Ondaatje

609 words - 2 pages

Every writer uses a different set of methods, known as the narrative mode, to portray the plot to the audience for individual reasons. In the first section of “The English Patient”, Michael Ondaatje uses his narrative mode in order to more effectively convey his message in an appealing way. One way he does this is by presenting the reader with visual images and vivid description that trigger their imagination. His use of visual imagery, description, and pronouns to present the settings, and to describe people and their actions is part of his narrative mode. By eschewing the names of characters, and creating these images, he is calling attention to the small details in the text, which helps convey his message.
A visual image, if well described, is particularly an exciting and eye-catching moment for the reader. In “The English Patient,” Ondaajte uses the following image to describe the English patient’s condition: “Above the shins the burns are worst. Beyond purple. Bone” (3). Ondaajte uses the words “beyond purple,” and “bone” not only to show the reader the extent of the Englishman’s wounds, but also to make the reader feel the bone and see grotesqueness of the skin. By creating visual images, he is arousing the reader’s imagination and curiosities, as well as calling attention to the small details in the text.
Once the reader’s curiosities are stimulated, small details in the text are more easily revealed since the author has caught the reader’s attention. Throughout the first chapter of the book, “The Villa”, Ondaatje enables the reader’s constant awareness through a combination of simple pronouns and description. In one example, he writes: “Unclothed he was once again the man naked beside the blazing aircraft. They spread the layers of grey felt over him. What great nation had found him, he wondered”...

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