The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje

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The book The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje, shows the effects that World War II had on soldiers, as well as the nurses involved in the war. Hana, a nurse during the war, goes through the devastating loss of her father, Patrick, who dies in the war. Hana then commits her life to helping a burnt, disfigured, and severely wounded man, referred to as the English patient. Hana decides to stay with the dying English patient, whom she loves like her own father, in the makeshift hospital, despite being told how dangerous it was for her. Hana was very close to her father, so his death damaged her. Both the English patient and Patrick are similar in a sense that they both suffered from the same wounds and intense burns. Hana is upset that she was not able to help her father when he was dying so she attaches herself to the English patient. Patrick is the reason Hana stays behind to take care of the English patient because she was not able to take care of Patrick at his death, and does not want the English patient to die in the same way her father did. Hana had a special relationship and bond with her father. Hana recalls her father’s personality, remembering every aspect of him that she liked and says, “he was unlike most men”(91). Hana remembers the times her and her father would spend together during summer nights stopping “his car under one specific bridge in Toronto north of Pottery Road at midnight and telling her that this was where the starlings and pigeons uncomfortably and not too happily shared the rafters during the night”(91). Small things like playing piano, reading a book passage, or even seeing a dog sparks memories of her father and some of the conversations they had. When Hana finds out that her father had died s... ... middle of paper ... ...father. Hana’s resentment of not being able to save her father leads to her attachment to the English patient, so she stays behind to take care of him like a father. Hana sees the English patient as a father figure to her. She sees the similarities between her father’s situation and the English patient. She wishes to have been able to save her father, and puts all her efforts into being there for the English patient. She does not want the English patient to die like her father did; alone, in pain, and without anyone that loves him around. She makes sure that she does everything she can to save the English patient and that when it is his time to pass; he will be comfortable and loved. Her father was the reason she stayed because he was the motivation to keep the English patient alive and happy. Works Cited The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
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