Count Lazlo Almasy, the English Patient, is a man in an Imperial time and world. The people in this world live by Imperial rules and perpetuate Imperial stereotypes. The film takes place in World War II era Africa, and as the film portrays it, in the mysterious and exotic Sahara desert and in Cairo, Egypt. Count Almasy’s character lives in the desert among imperial explorers and in the desert environment full of natives who bring to life classic stereotypes full of ignorance and white prevalence and power. Ella Shohat and Robert Stam, authors of Unthinking Eurocentrism, believe that the Imperial attitudes that the British government and the Western imperial society initiated, continue today and are alive in the cinema. The film, “The English Patient” is a key example of Imperial influence on cinema with the exception of one character: Count Almasy. On the surface, Almasy seems to be just like those around him, but when one looks deeper, his characteristics show that he is in fact an anti-imperial. Almasy’s character invites the viewer to identify with his seeming quest for adventure and then reveals qualities that then revise the colonial stereotypes that he seemed to personify previously.
In the chapter “Imperial Imaginary” by Shohat and Stam, the authors discuss the idea that the perfect imperial subject is the adolescent male because of his vulnerability and hunger for adventure (101). The nature of imperialism is one of power and control. To teach a man to be an imperial one must teach him to love adventure. According to the authors, the empire by its very nature is the man’s plaything and that “boys [can] play in the space of an empire” (101). It gives them the freedom and creativity to explore and through cinema...
... middle of paper ...
...at, unpredictable weather, and the general exoticism of the Sahara, Almasy is the odd light in the dark of the “Imperial Imaginary”. According to Stam and Shohat’s definition of the imperial, Almasy fits into their
image only on the surface. He believes in many things that are antithetical to that of the imperial,largely his feelings about borders, names, and maps. When one delves deeper into his personality and beliefs, it can be seen that he is in fact the anti-imperial amidst a plethora of imperial stereotypes.
Ondaatje, Michael. The English Patient. New York: Random House, Inc., 1992.
Shohat, Ella, and Robert Stam. Unthinking Eurocentrism: Multiculturalism and theMedia. New York: Routledge, 1994.
”The English Patient”. Dir. Anthony Minghella. Perf. Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Willem Defoe, and Kristin Scott Thomas. Miramax, 1996.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- In Michael Ondaatje’s "The English Patient," is set before World War II, critically illustrates four dissimilar characters who meet together at the Villa San Girolamo, an Italian monastery. Simultaneously, there is a groundbreaking love story happened among those four characters under that time frames. Those four main people are included, a burned Englishman Ladislaus de Almasy, a twenty-year old French-Canadian Army nurse Hana, a Sikh British Army sapper Kip, and Canadian thief David Caravaggio.... [tags: The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje]
1666 words (4.8 pages)
- Verisimilitude in The English Patient One critic has written, "Ondaatje has always been fascinated by history - seen as a series of arcane stories about the past. In his hands, even the documents of history slide away from factual representation toward a haunting apprehension of indeterminacy." (Barbour 207). In The English Patient Ondaatje blends fiction and history into a socially conscious story. Verisimiliude is the aspect of belivability present in a novel. Ondaatje's use of the element of verisimilitude accentuates important undercurrents and events which are vital to understanding the novel.... [tags: The English Patient]
902 words (2.6 pages)
- Count Lazlo Almasy, the English Patient, is a man in an Imperial time and world. The people in this world live by Imperial rules and perpetuate Imperial stereotypes. The film takes place in World War II era Africa, and as the film portrays it, in the mysterious and exotic Sahara desert and in Cairo, Egypt. Count Almasy’s character lives in the desert among imperial explorers and in the desert environment full of natives who bring to life classic stereotypes full of ignorance and white prevalence and power.... [tags: Film Movie Movies English Patient]
1461 words (4.2 pages)
- Prose as Poetry in The English Patient "Never again will a single story be told as though it is only one." John Berger. The English Patient consists of the stories of its four characters told either by themselves or by Ondaatje. Two stories, the accounts of Kip's military service and the many-layered secrets of the patient, are developed while Hana's and Caravaggio's stories are less involved. However, none of these stories could stand alone. The clash of cultures and changing relationships between the characters provide the texture for the novel.... [tags: English Patient Essays]
627 words (1.8 pages)
- Postmodernism in The English Patient Postmodernism is one of the most controversial and influential intellectual movements to appear in the last fifty years. In order to understand postmodernism, it would be wise to begin with a definition of modernism. Modernism is a philosophy based on the belief that through Enlightenment values of rationality and the absolute truth of science, the human race will evolve into a utopia. Modernists are Eurocentric, humanistic, and optimistic. Postmodernism is essentially a rejection of modernism and all Enlightenment values. More importantly, postmodernism looks upon the "modern" world with increased cynicism and disappointment. Key them... [tags: English Patient Essays]
967 words (2.8 pages)
- Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient The limited character in Michael Ondaatje’s novel, The English Patient, was Almásy. Almásy was a man who was burned from head to toe, and whose identity is unrecognizable thus making him a limited character. The novel takes place in a villa where the man was being taken care of by Hana, a young nurse who stayed behind to take care of Almásy while the rest of the nurses escaped to a safer place to stay. She calls him the English patient because of his accent, though she is unaware of where he is from.... [tags: MIchael Ondaatje English Patient Essays]
968 words (2.8 pages)
- Destruction through Imagery and Theme in The English Patient The imagery in Michael Ondaatje's novel The English Patient serves to illustrate the theme of destruction in this novel. The setting of the novel as well as the characters themselves present to the reader a vivid picture of demolition. Critics also find that Ondaatje's imagery is a vital element in the presentation of this theme. The English Patient is set at the end of World War II in a war-ravaged Italian village. Ondaatje gives vivid descriptions of the damage the village sustained due to the war: As the hill town began to be torn apart like a battle ship at sea, by fire shells, the troops moved from the barrack ten... [tags: The English Patient]
519 words (1.5 pages)
- Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient World War II was a traumatic and life-changing experience for all who lived through the time period. Michael Ondaatje’s novel, The English Patient is set in the direct aftermath of this turbulent and violent era. Each of his characters is effected by the death and violence that go hand in hand with war; Hana in particular is profoundly changed by her experience as a nurse in an Italian hospital. Hana is a woman in ruins, both physically and mentally; by looking at her experiences with death and her relationships to the English Patient, Kip, and her surroundings, she can be seen as a representative of the victims of war, a complex human face on... [tags: Ondaatje English Patient WWII Two Essays]
2392 words (6.8 pages)
- Characters as Portrayed Through Themes and Images in The English Patient While the four main characters of The English Patient are extremely powerful, and important to the reader's understanding of the story, they cannot stand alone without the patterns of imagery, symbolism and metaphor which underpin the text, and offer a complexity which extends beyond the literal level. These patterns reveal information about each character, and provide significant links between characters and ideas which lead to a greater understanding of the novel.... [tags: English Patient Essays]
2370 words (6.8 pages)
- Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient and Toni Morrison's Jazz Textual, mnemonic, and physical gaps leave room in which identity is found through body and environment in Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient and Toni Morrison's Jazz. Ondaatje's characters retrieve their absent personas by mutually colonizing lovers' bodies, thus developing a metaphor for the body as topography. Morrison spins this in reverse, personifying and merging the City's infrastructure with human structure as the characters synergistically carve out their selves through the City's spaces.... [tags: Ondaatje English Patient Essays]
2406 words (6.9 pages)