Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

In what ways does Anil demonstrate post colonial “double-consciousness”?

How do each of the main characters in Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient—Hana, Kip, Caravaggio, and Almasy—manifest alienation?

Do you judge Kip’s assertion of his Indian identity at the end of The English Patient as an advance toward or a retreat from his personal search for identity and why?

Why is Patrick emotionally isolated? How do the events of In the Skin of a Lion motivate him to overcome isolation and connect with community and family?

Why, at the end of In the Skin of a Lion, does Patrick go to Clara’s rescue after not having had any contact with her for many years?

What political themes found in his novels define Ondaatje as a postcolonial writer?

Ondaatje’s prose has been recognized as being particularly lyrical and emotive. Select several passages and discuss devices he uses to achieve his poetic effects. Is his figurative language successful in his novels, or should it be confined to poetry?