The English Patient (Film)

The Poetics of The English Patient: From the White Page to the Silver Screen

The English Patient has been referred to as "a poem disguised as a novel." Much emphasis is directed toward Michael Ondaatje's language, which "takes center stage, gliding and soaring, drifting into the hidden rooms of his character's souls, striking dissonant chords, floating above destinies with Godlike power in one sentence, burrowing into the muddy terror of a bomb crater in the next." The beauty of Ondaatje's novel does not arise from its plot, nor from its characterizations, the intricacies of its settings, or the exuberance of Ondaatje's storytelling. Instead, the artistry and power of his tale arise from his careful use of language: the tropes, metonymy, magically fluid prose, and striking imagery evoked from his placement of the Word. The language of The English Patient is the heart that pumps blood through the novel's spine, without which all the life that teems in the book would die. Anthony Minghella's film adaptation of The English Patient also brings to mind poetry, but through the visual medium of film. Through use of symbolic imagery and visual signifiers, Minghella conjures up themes resonant with meaning and universality. The film version of The English Patient is,...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 747 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4446 literature essays, 1450 sample college application essays, 183 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in