The English Patient Questions and Answers
by Michael Ondaatje

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How is The English Patient connected to postmodernism?

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I would want to argue that the chief way that postmodernism is manifested in this wonderful novel is through its narrative structure, which some critics have described as resembling a collage more than a chronological line of events. The narration consists of a series of memories that are not sequential of the four central characters. This collage in turn is scattered between the main events of the story in the present, which itself includes the romance between Hana and Kip and the mystery concerning the true identity of the English patient.

Such a novel and unique approach in the narration is postmodern in the way that it rejects any one conclusive point of view, but rather supplies us as readers with several perspectives of equal importance. As chronology is not important, the voices of dead characters, such as Katharine, are equally as valid as those who are still alive. The chapter entitled "Katharine" thus gives us information from her perspective that we would not have if a traditional, linear approach had been taken to the narration. Postmodernity therfore is most prevalent through a consideration of the point of view of the novel and the way in which the narration resembles more a collage than a traditional chronological approach.

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