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How the Displacement of Original Nationality Influences Kip and the English Patient in The English Patient 400096043 Ariel

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Page 1: How the Displacement of Original Nationality Influences Kip and the English Patient in The English Patient 400096043 Ariel

How the Displacement of Original Nationality Influences Kip and the

English Patient in The English Patient

400096043 Ariel

Page 2: How the Displacement of Original Nationality Influences Kip and the English Patient in The English Patient 400096043 Ariel

Research Question

• The characters in The English Patient are removed from their original nationalities and connected with each other in the Villa. How does the villa influence their identities and their view of ethnicity? Is their reunion a kind of symbol of globalization?

• Does Kip’s returning home a progress towards his identification with his own race?

• How does the desert affect Almacy, Katharine, and Madox?

Page 3: How the Displacement of Original Nationality Influences Kip and the English Patient in The English Patient 400096043 Ariel

My Argument• The damaged villa is the embodiment of the

destroyed and maimed Western civilization through the war. However, there are still positive sides of the debris. It is deconstructed, so it is open for reconstruction, and so are the characters. In terms of the postcolonial aspect, Kip is the one who undergoes the most tremendous changes after he joins the community in the villa. He is originally dislocated in the war, can’t identifying himself as either Indian nor White, suffering from “depersonalization” as Fanon terms.

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My Argument

• After he inhabits in the villa, his racial inferiority has been erased through his recognition of the consequence of brutal side of Western civilization and his acceptance of his Indian identity. It is not only the Atomic bomb that reconnects him to his country but also the villa’s disconnected geography and deconstructed state that makes him reestablish his identity.

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My Argument• Almacy is the other character whose identity is forme

d through the spatial reality. The desert, not only deletes one’s nationalities but also obliterates the boundaries set by morality and religious doctrines. Thus, the adultery between Almacy and Katherine and Madox’s suicide all happen after they enter the desert. Almacy also worships the desert for its deletion of time. He is like the desert, who is often immersed in flashback, not bounded by time. His burned body is also a kind of “desert” that is barren and dried. Hence, the body is also a kind of physical map that can provide a resource of tracing one’s history.

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The Villa

• “Behind the villa a rock wall rose higher than the house. To the west of the building was a long enclosed garden, and twenty miles away was the carpet of the city of Florence, which often disappeared under the mist of the valley.” (42)

• The isolation of the villa separates itself from the war and Western supremacy.

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The Villa Between the kitchen and the destroyed chapel a door

led into an oval-shaped library. The space inside seemed safe except for a large hole at portrait level in the far wall, caused by mortar-shell attack on the villa two months earlier. The rest of the room had adapted itself to this wound, accepting the habits of weather, evening stars, the sound of birds. […]

At the far end were French doors that were boarded up. If they had been open she could have walked from the library to the loggia, then down thirty-six penitent steps past the chapel towards what had been an ancient meadow, scarred now by phosphorus bombs and explosions. (11)

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The Villa• The villa symbolizes the destroyed physical or mental

state of the characters. There are multiple breakages and fractures in it, which are similar to the character’s memories and narratives.

• The large hole of the wall represents not only the damage of the war but also the blurred boundaries between artificial architecture and natural beauties, between civilization and primitive life. Characters are not bound in the fixed walls and are open for new possibilities and links.

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The Villa• “ The Villa San Girolamo, built to protect inhabitants fr

om the flesh of the devil, had the look of a besieged fortress, the limbs of most of the statues blown off during the first days of shelling. There seemed little demarcation between house and landscape, between damaged building and the burned and shelled remnants of the earth. To Hana the wild gardens were further rooms… In spite of the burned earth, in spite of the lack of water. Someday there would be a bower of limes, rooms of green light.” hope for rebirth and reconstruction better than the previous state before war

Page 10: How the Displacement of Original Nationality Influences Kip and the English Patient in The English Patient 400096043 Ariel

Kip-before entering the villa• He is an Indian Sikh. Despite of the fact that his

brother extremely opposes to English imperialism, he still joins the English army, volunteering to be a sapper.

• “Those accepted filled up the courtyard. The coded results written onto our skin with yellow chalk. Later, in the lineup, after a brief interview, an Indian officer chalked more yellow onto the slates tied around our necks. Our weight, age, district, standard of education, dental condition and what unit we were best suited for. “I did not feel insulted by this. I am sure my brother would have been, would have walked in fury ...I was not like him… I just stood there, still, until I was invisible” (200). (silence as camouflage to protect self)

Page 11: How the Displacement of Original Nationality Influences Kip and the English Patient in The English Patient 400096043 Ariel

Kip-before entering the villa

• “The colonial subject is always overdetermined from without.” “It is through image and fantasy—those borders that figure transgressively on the borders of borders of history and the unconscious—that Fanon most profoundly evokes the colonial condition.” (Bhaba xiii).

• Kip sacrifices his security and chooses to become the sapper dismantling the bombs set by Westerners. He is the nameless hero for the Allies but feels estranged and inferior in front of other Western colleagues. He always locates himself in the periphery of the other sappers. His admiration of Lord Suffolk has something to do his worship of Western culture.

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Kip-after entering the villa

• His encounter with Carravaggio, who questions him about his identity as a sapper for the Westerners, his relationship with Hana, as the couple of Western woman and Oriental man, and his conversation with the English patient reshape his identity. He interrogates himself that if it worthwhile risking his life for the Allies after the Atomic bomb damages Japan.

Page 13: How the Displacement of Original Nationality Influences Kip and the English Patient in The English Patient 400096043 Ariel

Kip-after entering the villa

• Kip’s body becomes a map of the Oriental area when he encounters the White. The attraction between he and Hana are partly from their interests in each other’s nationalities.

• “At night, when she lets his hair free, he is once more another constellation, the arms of a thousand equators against his pillow, waves of it between them in their embrace and in their turns of sleep. She holds an Indian goddess in her arms, she holds wheat and ribbons” (218).(female gazes the male)

Page 14: How the Displacement of Original Nationality Influences Kip and the English Patient in The English Patient 400096043 Ariel

Kip-after entering the villa

• “He moves always in relation to things, beside walls, raised terrace hedges. He scans the periphery. When he looks at Hana he sees a fragment of her lean cheek in relation to the landscape behind it” (218).

• The geographic features of the villa– isolated ,deconstructed, and waiting for renewal– becomes incorporated into his identity.

Page 15: How the Displacement of Original Nationality Influences Kip and the English Patient in The English Patient 400096043 Ariel

Kip-after entering the villa

• The dark side of the villa can temporarily remove oneself from ones’ complexion and racial identity.

• Kip gradually associates Hena with his sisters or his babysitter, erasing the racial differences between them.

• He is dislocated while dismantling the bombs.

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The Narrated Space

• Due to Hana’s worship of him and association with him as his nation, Kip begins to identify himself more with Indian culture. He travels with Hana to the Indian temples and landscape through his narration.

• “During the verbal nights, they travel his country of five rivers. . . The temple is a haven in the flux of life, accessible to all. It is the ship that crossed the ocean of ignorance” (271).

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After the Atomic Bomb• The Allies’ damage of Japan, the Asian country

supported by his brother, reminds him his ethnical differences from the other Westerners. He has to choose to stand for one of the part. He begins to resent English, and he also resents his former succumb to English ordered civilization and art. His disillusion of the Allies reconnect him with India.

• “I grew up in the traditions from my country, but later, more often , from your country. Your fragile white island that with customs and manners and books and perfect and reasons somehow converted the rest of the world”( 283).

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After the Atomic Bomb

• “My brother told me. Never turn your back on Europe. The deal makers. The contract makers. The map drawers. Never trust Europeans, he said. . .But we, oh , we were easily impressed—by speeches and medals and your ceremonies. What have I been doing these last few years? Cutting away, defusing, limbs of evil. For what? For this to happen?” (guilty and valueless)

• He mistakes the English Patient as the representative of the Allies.

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Almasy and the Desert

• “The harmattan blows across the Sahara filled with red dust, dust as fire, as flour, entering and coagulating in the locks of rifles […] producing showers of mud so great this was also mistaken for blood” (17).

• The desert is fluid instead of being static.

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Almasy and the Desert

• “The Bedouin knew about fire. They knew about planes that since 1939 had been falling out of the sky. . . A man whose head was on fire. They didn’t know my name. I didn’t know their tribe” (5).

• Almasy is like a nomad who leaves his country and enters the desert. His identities are changing from Hungarian to English mapmaker to German spy to the English patient. His narration also flies between the past and the present.

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Almasy and the Desert

• There were rivers of desert tribes, the most beautiful humans I’ve met in my life. We were German, English, Hungarian, African – all of us insignificant to them. Gradually we became nationless. I came to hate nations. We are deformed by nation-states […] The desert could not be claimed or owned – it was a piece of cloth carried by winds, never held down by stones […] All of us […] wished to remove the clothing of our countries. It was a place of faith. We disappeared into landscape. Fire and sand. We left the harbours of oasis. The places water came to and touched. Erase the family name! Erase nations! […] By the time war arrived, after ten years in the desert, it was easy for me to slip across borders, not to belong to anyone, to any nation. (138 – 139)

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Almasy and the Desert

• Desert is the symbol of emancipation from the established laws and religious doctrines.

• The Cave of Swimmers– although Almasy doesn’t want to belong to anyone and to be owned, he lets Katherine completely belong to him in the cave. (more secluded than the desert)

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Conclusion

• Both Kip and the English Patient are reshaped by the spatial realities surrounding them. Kip’s link with the villa offers him to re-examine his relationship with the Western culture while the English patient’s attachment to the desert liberates him from fixed identities.

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Further Question

• Why does Katherine say that Almasy is the man who will never change?

• Why do Kip and Hana have to leave each other once they depart from the villa?

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Work Cited

• Ondaatje, Michael. The English Patient. New York: Random House, 1992.