Visual Imagery in The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje

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Every writer uses a different set of methods, known as the narrative mode, to portray the plot to the audience for individual reasons. In the first section of “The English Patient”, Michael Ondaatje uses his narrative mode in order to more effectively convey his message in an appealing way. One way he does this is by presenting the reader with visual images and vivid description that trigger their imagination. His use of visual imagery, description, and pronouns to present the settings, and to describe people and their actions is part of his narrative mode. By eschewing the names of characters, and creating these images, he is calling attention to the small details in the text, which helps convey his message.

A visual image, if well described, is particularly an exciting and eye-catching moment for the reader. In “The English Patient,” Ondaajte uses the following image to describe the English patient’s condition: “Above the shins the burns are worst. Beyond purple. Bone” (3). Ondaajte uses the words “beyond purple,” and “bone” not only to show the reader the extent of the Engli...

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