Towards a Decolonized Self: An Analysis of the Character of Kip in Michael Ondaatjes The English Patient

Article English OPEN
Hazam, Miazi (2014)
  • Publisher: Journal Of Business Management & Social Sciences Research
  • Journal: Journal Of Business Management & Social Sciences Research (issn: 2319-5614)
  • Subject: Social Sciences; Department of English | The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje, national identity, postcolonialism, World War II.

Michael Ondaatjes The English Patient, has usually been read as a novel which deals with the formation and negation of national identity in terms of markers particularly that of the human body; and this reading has traditionally centred round the character of Almasy, the supposedly English patient in the novel. Given the view that negotiating identity within colonial space has been one of the major concerns with postcolonial discourse in terms of the dynamics between the so-termed outsider and the insider; it also attempts at analyzing an accepted/adopted identity and arriving at a reversal of the same through a process of self-scrutiny in the light of some new fact. The proposed paper attempts to study the character of Kirpal Singh, also known as Kip, the Indian sapper in Ondaatjes novel, who, although having adopted an almost English identity later realizes the futility of it and draws the conclusion that the relationship between the colonizer and the colonized will always be based on terms of power and exploitation. Through the character of Kip and his experiences in foreign lands, the paper attempts at focusing on how individuals and nations tend to establish hierarchical relationships. It has also been an attempt to show how all the major characters in this novel, who are as if thrown by fate to meet in a foreign land in the backdrop of war, undergo a critical assessment of their national identities through an act of negation.
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