Essay on Running in the Family

Words: 3973
Pages: 16

Plot Summary

A Sri Lankan-born Canadian novelist and poet, Philip Michael Ondaatje, wrote Running in the Family. He is best known for writing The English Patient. But this book is not a work of fiction; instead, it is a memoir from his youth in Sri Lanka. The events happening in the book can be classified as creative non-fiction. The book is written in postmodern style, with writing from the perspective of different real-life individuals and refraining from stringing narrative together in an orderly fashion. The focus of the book is Michael's family. The Ondaatje family had lived in Ceylon for centuries, so he has a large number of relatives who live there. The main focus of the book is on his alcoholic father, Mervyn Ondaatje. He also
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He thought that their mother had told all the stories of their family to the friend who visited from England, and how it must have made a bad impression on him, but five years later, when he returned to Ceylon, he was surprised to see that everyone still remembered the guest from London “with such delight and love”
The next letter is from someone close to Ondaatje who described how Mervyn used to come to his/her house to bring eggs and fertilizer. Mervyn, at the time, was a calmer, quieter man, due to his marriage at the time with his second wife, Maureen.
The next letter is from Ondaatje’s mother, who writes about how sad Mervyn’s face had looked, and how she misses her ex-husband. She wrote to him about a song that was at a dance and Mervyn replied saying he wished he could just kiss his family once again.
The last letter was from a good friend, or a sibling of Ondaatje, and it describes how he had visited Doris one night and explained to her how he could get in touch with Mervyn, who she hadn’t seen since the divorce. His wife had changed the topic of conversation but he was sure he would have persuaded Doris into seeing Mervyn.

The structure of this chapter is rather irregular and disorganized, resembling Mervyn’s life at the time. The whole chapter is about dialogues, which is a great way to communicate with one-another, as well as