The Issue Of Identity In Jonathan Culler's The English Patient

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The issue of identity is of primary importance in the cosmopolitan today’s world characterized by blending of cultures and globalization processes. Identity is a construct: the ways an individual understands what it is to belong to a certain gender, race or culture. As Jonathan Culler says “Literature has not only made identity a theme; It has played a significant role in the construction of the identity of the readers. Literary works encourage identification with characters by showing things from their point of view” (2005: 112). In this regard there is a lot of theoretical debate that concerns the nature of ‘subject’ or ‘self’. The question about the ‘subject’ is ‘what am I?’ and further the question whether the identity of the ‘subject’ ‘something given’ or ‘something constructed’ has…show more content…
Michael Ondaatje is an internationally recognized Canadian writer. He has been called one of North America’s finest novelists and a literary phenomenon. He has produced a variety of works including twelve books of poetry, five novels, three films, a memoir and many pieces of literary criticism. Ondaatje being the postcolonial and postmodern writer encapsulates the postmodernist view of identity in his most famous and well known novel “The English Patient”. In the novel, Ondaatje ingeniously asserts the notion that all people are creatures of the past and try to define their future events accordingly. He investigates the perception of identity through the transient movement of the characters. All the four main characters of the novel are in the process of self-re-evaluation, the process of discovering their new identity after the war. It is obvious that the identity of The English Patient is the central concern of the novel, and the identities of other characters are often revealed through their relation to the burned
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