Warfare, the struggle between two or more nations, will continue to impact the lives of individuals in the world. Ondaatje uses the following introduction from Tacitus’s work, Annals, to expand on the idea of warfare in cultural history: “I begin my work at the time when Servius Galba was Consul.... The histories of Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero, while they were a power, were falsified through terror and after their death were written under a fresh hatred” (93).
Tacitus’s interpretation of the rulers as fear inflicting people, who were hated posthumously, helps to suggest the idea that terror in history can bring individuals to act or not act. Through his view of the emperors as terrorizing, Ondaatje is able to demonstrate fear as something that enables the shaping of an individual’s personal history.
Furthermore, fear drives warfare, conflicts between nations, and even an in...
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...y life. The effects of war had forever changed Caravaggio’s personal history because he was unable to escape the habits that were ingrained into his mind throughout the war.
Fear, anxiety, survival skills, and habits are four effects that Ondaatje used in “The English Patient” to portray how the cultural history of war impacted Kip and Caravaggio’s personal history as well as their lifestyle. Ondaatje wanted to show how the warfare in the past caused characters to feel like they constantly have to look over their shoulder to confirm their safety. He used description to paint a picture in the reader’s mind to convey what kind of lives these characters were living. The shadow of war will continue to haunt the characters and their consciousnesses almost like a dark cloud hovering over the tree and its roots
"the english patient" by michael ondaatje
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