In the Skin of a Lion Anaylsis Essay

Words: 1335
Pages: 6

Discuss the ways in which textual forms and features shape your understanding of In the Skin of a Lion.
Michael Ondaatje’s postmodern exploration of the early, developmental years of Canada, In the Skin of a Lion, is expressed through multiple perspectives, with no dominant perspective or omniscient narrator. The narrative is presented as fragmented and contains interruptions from intersecting perspectives. The presence of class conflict forces the characters to experience extreme adversity, with their contributions to building the society going unnoticed until Ondaatje has addressed their social exclusion. Through reinterpretations of motifs and symbols, Ondaatje adds new dimensions to events in history and characterizations, whilst the
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When sharing a bed with his father, “they do not acknowledge each other, apart from sharing the warmth”, alluding to the idea that, even when he was in a relationship with Clara, Patrick “liked to sleep separate, in his own world”, thereby suggesting the impact of their dysfunctional relationship later in Patrick’s life. This is further explored when he finally gains stability through fulfilling the role of being a lover to Alice and a father to Hanna, Alice’s daughter. The “seeds” inherited from his father are shown to remain, despite his strong desire to break out of his abashed nature, “he wanted to pick Hanna up and embrace her…but felt shy.” Whilst he treats her with affection, he is still uncomfortable with expressing it. Despite this, his relationship with Alice and Hanna allows him to no longer feel like the “alien” or “third person” as they allow Patrick to feel accepted in both their family, and the migrant community.
However, Alice’s death is unexpected. Ondaatje expresses Patrick’s remorse through a surreal blurring of illusion and reality, suggesting that, whilst he has gained stability through his relationship with Alice and Hanna, he loses it upon Alice’s death. Despite Alice’s significance to Patrick, Ondaatje downplays her death to emphasize that her perspective is not dominant to the other characters. The reader is also robbed of the