The English Patient

4 April 2015
This paper introduces and discusses the book “The English Patient,” by Michael Ondaatje, focusing on national identity and the way in which it is addressed in this book.

The following paper examines how people tend to identify others and themselves through their nationality when reading a novel. The writer contends that when we discover a certain character is a certain race, we automatically envision them a certain way, with certain features, and certain beliefs, that may or may not agree with our own. This paper discusses how the four characters in “The English Patient” have to get over what happened to them during the war, and figure out how to get on with their lives. The way in which their distinct and unique national identities come into play as the novel progresses is discussed.
“”The English Patient” takes place at the end of World War II, in a deserted villa in Italy that is being used as a field hospital during the war. Now, the war is winding down, and there are only four people left in the hospital. Hana is the Canadian nurse who is still there to take care of the injured patient. The patient, who is burned beyond recognition, a thumbless thief named Caravaggio, who was tortured and maimed by wartime inquisitors, and a young Sikh, named Kip, who spent the war taking apart and disarming German bombs. The “English patient” can talk, but he cannot remember who he is. He can remember his past, but not his name.”

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The English Patient. (2015, Apr 23). Retrieved January 13, 2022, from
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