full title The English Patient
author Michael Ondaatje
type of work Novel
genre Historical fiction
time and place written 1992; Toronto
date of first publication 1993
publisher Vintage International
narrator The narrator is omniscient, and conveys the points of view of several different characters
climax Kip threatens to kill Almásy, the English patient, after he hears the news that the United States has dropped atomic bombs on Japan .
protagonist Almasy, the English patient
antagonist World War II; the war disrupts the lives of all the characters and makes it impossible for Almasy to continue his love affair with Katharine
setting (time) The scenes in the villa take place in 1945, at the very end of the World War II, though the various flashbacks are set throughout the 1930s and early 1940s
setting (place) Primarily a small villa in the hills near Florence, Italy; but also Cairo, the Libyan desert, and England
point of view The point of view is generally third-person omniscient, except several times when the English patient begins to tell stories about his past in the first person
falling action Kip's desertion of the villa on his motorbike without saying goodbye to Hana, Almasy, or Caravaggio; Kip's thoughts of Hana while having dinner with his new family in India years later
tense Present tense when Ondaatje writes about live and events in the Italian villa; past tense when one of the characters is flashing back to a previous memory or event
foreshadowing Almasy draws his arm across Katharine's neck, a foreshadowing of their violent and passionate love affair; Kip's emotional distance, which prefigures his desertion of Hana at the end of the novel
tone Reflective and poetic, as each of the characters' memories are revealed complete with their thoughts and personal connections
themes Love's ability to transcend time and place; nationality and identity; the connection between body and mind; ownership
motifs Reading; the desert; maps; history books; bodies
symbols The bomb; the villa; the English patient's burned body
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