The English patient flashes back to the events leading up to the fateful plane crash that injured Katharine. It was during their months of separation, when Katharine insisted that they not see each other anymore, that the English patient became bitter. He could not bear that she would not see him, and he became determined that she had taken another lover. Her last endearments to him seemed false, and he trusted nothing. In his copy of Herodotus he wrote down all her arguments against him, wanting to record them so he might remember and believe them. It was the patient's meanness to Katharine that made Geoffrey suspect that he was her lover.

While he was carrying Katharine's injured body from the plane to the cave, they had a few moments to talk. She told him that he killed everything in her during their separation. She said that she left him not only because her husband was mad, but because she knew she could never change him. He would not reveal one more inch of his character to her, and she felt isolated.

Three years after he had this conversation with her, he came back to find her dead body. He dug up the buried plane, for which he had brought fuel, and placed her inside it. They took off in the plane and flew a small distance when the plane begins to fall apart. Oil poured over his knees as the bottom of the plane brushed the trees. There was a spark and the whole plane caught fire. He parachuted down to the ground, and only then did he realize that his entire body was on fire.

Back in the present, the English patient talks to Kip. They share a can of condensed milk, which the English patient greatly enjoys. He tells Kip that they get along so well because they are both "international bastards," born in one place and choosing to live elsewhere. Kip thinks of all the teachers he lost, his English mentors. He is emotionally withdrawn.


In The English Patient, there is no single narrator, as each of the main characters has a voice at one time or another. The point of view shifts from one character to another, sometimes within the same chapter, offering descriptions of a single event from multiple perspectives. The critic Lorraine York points to the evening of Hana's birthday to illustrate this "complicated dance of gazes." On this evening, Caravaggio watches Hana's legs as she walks: "her legs and thighs moved through the skirt of her frock as if it were thin water." Then, from Kip's point of view: "Hana moved alongside them, her hands in her pockets, the way Kip loved to see her walk." This change of perspectives adds depth to the narrative, emphasizing the presence of multiple realities and various points of view within a scene. There is no one character who is the only watcher, or other characters who are the only ones watched. Each character watches in his or her own right, taking in sensory experiences and mixing them with memories. Ondaatje's use of this technique makes the narrative a complete tale, rejecting the idea that there is only one story to be told.