“In the skin of a lion”

by vincentnguyen07

In the novel “In the skin of a lion”, written by a Canadian author Michael Ondaatje, a romantic, adventurous, imaginative, and historic novel, where the reader follows the life of Patrick Lewis. This novel is separated into three different parts where it makes it difficult for the reader to follow and understand while reading the novel. The novel starts off with Patrick’s child life living in Ontario where he learns and follows his father’s views and his neighborhood, in which will soon be a part of his future. Years later  we find Patrick in the city of Toronto during the years of 1920’s where we learn more about his life, where he falls in love with Clara Dickens (in which she is already taken), works extremely hard labor jobs and dealt with prison. Throughout novel, Ondaatje builds a great image of what life was like during the 1920’s by exploring through the challenges that Patrick has to deal with throughout the novel.
Michael Ondaatje wrote this book differently, as mentioned above on how he separates the novel into three different stories. It can become difficult to understand after finishing one story and moving on to the next story of the book because the novel was not in a consistent time frame. Ondaatje made it difficult a bit because he wanted the reader to fit the pieces together from all three parts and putting it as a whole in order to understand the novel and being able to discovery his intentions.

This novel consist a lot of “imagery” because he wrote the book well and descriptive for the reader to imagine what life was like during the 1920’s in relations to what the work field was like, the economy, or even getting a good sense of what Patrick is going through with this complicated relationships with Alice Gull and Clara Dickens. I found that Ondaatje choices of words were great and descriptive which help me to create many scenes in my mind as I read the novel.

What struck me the most after reading this novel was one of the main points Ondaatje was trying to reach out to his readers. During the course of the novel, many people died while working on the bridge and this is where he wanted to show us of how important people are. In our society, everything we have could not have existed if it weren’t for those gave their contributions for our society. People have died for us, and I think we just have to think about it, respect, and appreciate the things that they worked hard for, building up what we see in our world as it is today.


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