Teacher Guide

The English Patient Lesson Plan

Relationship to Other Books

Ondaatje’s first novel, In the Skin of the Lion (1987), addresses a period previous to the main timeline of The English Patient and revolves largely around the story of Hana’s father, Patrick, and how he met Caravaggio in prison. Interestingly, in this book we learn Hana’s mother was killed by a bomb unexpectedly contained in a satchel, and that her father held a water filtration plant hostage by mining it with dynamite, giving deeper meaning to the symbol of bombs in The English Patient.

The English Patient makes reference to a number of books within the text itself, and these books enrich our understanding of the characters who gravitate toward or push against those books. Almasy...

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