It refers to Almasy’s book of Herodotus The Histories which the narrator notes, is twice its original thickness (Ondaatje, p.95). Almasy added to it, cutting and gluing in pages from other books or writing in…
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He takes fragments and paragraphs cut out of other books and includes them in his novel. There is intertextuality richness in the novel including statutes, myths, christian imagery, desert images and references to portraits. His novel is swollen with different images just like Almasys common place book swollen to twice the original thicknes.
The emphasies on the importance of maps is evident in The English Patient. Books, people, faith and art work are all reduced to maps to their skeletal structure. The reduction is a form of econstruction similar to the one of bombs in the novel. For giving the germans the desert maps, Almasy is considered a traitor and his treason justifying the preoccupation of the novel with maps. In the analysis highlighting the importance of maps, the gravity of his crime is evident.
As a form of knowledge, maps give power to those who have them. Almasy claims that his map drawing ability motivated the Bedouins to save him. He goes further to explain that “they kept me alive for a reason. I was useful you see... I am a man who can recognize an unnamed town by its skeletal shape on a map” (Ondaatje, p.18). The Bedouins try making use of Almasy’s vast reservoir of information.
For some, he draws maps going beyond their own boundaries and for other tribes explains the mechanic of guns(Ondaatje, p.22). Almasy claims having information like a sea in him and that he knew maps of the sea floor. maps depicting weaknesses in the earths shield, charts painted on skin containing various routes of the crusades. These maps have great destruction power since they depict weaknesses in the earths shield. The weaknesses would be exploited to create a destructive earthquake or to errupt a volcano in the land of the enemy.
Heble observes Ondaatje’s based character of Almasy on that of a real person. Almasy’s slippery identity is an analogue to the English patients in the novel. Totosy argues that Almasys fictional position,
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Name: Instruction: Task: Date: English Life is a matter of trials and errors hence there is a fundamental need for humanity to live harmoniously without acrimony. This suggests that; while there are the joys of life, it also has its fair share of tribulations that are uncontrollable.
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