The English Patient

What are the most important themes in dealing with Almasy and Katharine, and why is violence interconnected with their romance?

As in, as the only woman in the desert, is she some sort of forbidden fruit? Like in her words of The Histories, she becomes sort of like a seduction in the foretelling of what's to come in the affair between her and Almasy...? Also, with the inital dream of her and Almasy acting like animals, all primal, in the bed as they had sex, how does this work with them and connect it all later? She abuses him physically later, but why? Why is it all so violent in their relationship, as a destructive force, when they supposedly love each other?

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In this novel, the union and disunion of characters is often based in their ability to communicate, and their inherent tendencies towards passion or frigidity. Almasy is exceedingly rational and cerebral, and seems completely immune to matters of the heart. Instead, he is concerned with knowledge, with learning in the textbook sense. In Katharine, however, he encounters the opposite - a true firebrand who lives moment to moment wrapped in the flames of passion. Indeed, the two learn from each other: Almasy learns to love, and Katharine begins to become more curious. Their differences, however, are what ultimately undo them: Katharine cannot stand Almasy's coldness, his ability to so clinically separate himself from her in public. The irony, of course, is that it is the passion - the raging furious passion - of her husband Geoffrey that ultimately leads to her death, long after the affair with Almasy has ended. As he recounts the story, Almasy is surprised at how all-consuming passion can be - he can no longer remember all the details of his own politicized role in the world, because all he cares to remember is Katharine and the way she changed him.