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Extra resources for Comparative Cultural Studies and Michael Ondaatje's Writing (Comparative Cultural Studies)
Ondaatje’s The English Patient and Altered States of Narrative 25 In another book, a woman follows a dog into her captivity; a man with seven toes leads her back. Jackals guide the dead, and translators, books, into an afterlife in a melancholy act of liberation. Ondaatje’s The English Patient, saturated in sadness, guides the reader away from the containment of fidelity to authority and origin and the captivity of self absorption to a narrative that admits its dependencies as a communal strategy for survival: the linguistic association of a needle under the skin, the guiding needle of a compass, and the needle skipping on the record of history are played out in narrative postures as troubling, irreconcilable and vital as the task of the translator.
Ed. L. Stirrat. London: Routledge, 1990. 19–44. Obeyesekere, Gananath. The Cult of the Goddess Pattini. Chicago: Chicago UP, 1984. Obeyesekere, Gananath, Frank Reynolds, and Bardwell L. Smith. The Two Wheels of Dhamma: Essays on the Theravada Tradition in India and Ceylon. Chambersburg: American Academy of Religion, 1972. Paranavitana, Senerat. Sinhalayo. Colombo: Lake House, 1967. html>. Smith, Bardwell. ” The Two Wheels of Dhamma: Essays on the Theravada Tradition in India and Ceylon. By Gananath Obeyesekere, Frank Reynolds, and Bardwell L.
Has he profited from the death of others in the context of the war? Is he a traitor? Is he the equivalent of Herodotus’s cannibals in twentieth-century history? These questions hover over the novel and remain unanswered. The mysteriousness that surrounds the title character raises the suspicion that he himself might have behaved in savage ways, inconsistent with justice or laws. Even though different characters attempt to fill the gaps in his story and darn the holes that history has torn in the tissue of the Self, the “English” patient’s identity remains fluid and therefore suspicious.