Posts tagged ‘love’

February 2, 2011

Love defines who we are

by alexvyates

Michael Ondaatje’s novel In the Skin of a Lion is a fictionalized account of life in Toronto during the 1920‘s, seen through the eyes of Patrick Lewis, a former logger who comes to the city searching for Ambrose Small, a millionaire theatre magnate who has vanished. During his search, he falls madly in love with Small’s mistress, Clara Dickens, and meets her friend, Alice Gull. Years later, Patrick returns to Toronto without Clara, where he finds work, friendship and a new lover among the city’s new working class, mainly non English speaking immigrants from Macedonia and other Eastern European countries.

The novel is an in depth, imagined look at the people who helped build Toronto into the mega city it is today. Several of the characters portrayed in the novel are based on real people who greatly influenced the creation of Toronto, but as a reader we feel that everyone could have been a real people: they have flaws, long complex histories and relationships, and all of them deal with love in various ways, like all real human beings do. Ondaatje’s characters are so incredibly brought to life that we lose ourselves in the story and forget that these are made up individuals and that their lives are therefore make believe.  Love and the complexity of relationships between lovers and friends is a common theme of In the Skin of a Lion.

“He had always wanted to know her when she was old.”

This quote is thought by Patrick Lewis, and it shows how truly deep and profound his love was for the woman in his life. His dream of a perfect life was destroyed, and the man he becomes after he loses her is nothing like the man he was when this woman was in his life. For it is love, or the lack of it, that drives and defines Patrick. Without the love of this woman, he is a fragile shell of his former self. Events will always happen that we can not control, and it is how we react to those events that create who we are. Seemingly innocent and random events have great impact on the lives of the people of In the Skin of a Lion. And like in real life, the line separating love from lust is constantly blurred in this story.

Michael Ondaatje has created a beautiful story showing the lives, loves and relationships of some of the thousands of people who helped create Canada’s most populous city. He reminds us that love and our relationships with the people in our lives have profound impacts on who we are and what we do, whether they be for better or for worse.

February 1, 2011

Love is More than an Illusion

by chrislansigan

An entertaining and enthusiastic romantic novel by Michael Ondaatje, In the Skin of a Lion represents historical figures of love, hatred, and friendship between adequately emotional characters, male and female. The elegant plot follows these characters aggressively, as the narrator peers into their minds and reveals all their true meanings. The general focus is directed towards Patrick Lewis, who is mentally lost in a new land by labour and love. Ondaatje uses an excessive amount of serene and peaceful illusions through his poetry, from the section titles to the introduction and conclusion paragraphs in each chapter.

As an initial grasping romantic piece would, the introduction draws in explicit realism and visualization to what Patrick is experiencing as he matures from a young boy to a young man. That being said, the story utterly subjugates itself into depicting a sense of love. Love that is, indefinitely, subjected towards the character of Clara Dickens. Ondaatje, in the section “The Searcher”, uses her to depict the perfect, beautiful woman that will dazzle and catch the eye of any man within sight. He describes her as a typical woman would seem to look, but adds more persuasive illusion to make her ultimately desirable. Such simplistic description puts forth the scene of darkness during the serious, resentful times.

Ondaatje tended to focus on the introduction of characters relevant to the story throughout the novel separately. Certain characters, such as Patrick Lewis and Nicholas Temelcoff, are introduced during their younger years before the main plot, which gives us as the readers a sense of what they had experienced and how that experience affected the main storyline. This initiates a better understanding that shows how these certain characters were connected to the others introduced already or in the future.

Certain illusion can be described through imagination and dreams, as Caravaggio went through. Conducting a nightmare, his past is revealed through the brutal memories of being in prison, and the dream is all musty and dark, bringing forth the concept of darkness over light. The contrast to this is when Patrick, at the end of the book, says “lights”. That word is used interestingly at the end of the novel to depict how Patrick had come up with the conclusion at the end that light was the answer to destroy the darkness that haunted him and others.

Ondaatje’s use of preliminary illusion explains that a true love story isn’t always about the pictures drawn in our heads by adorable phrases. To be one with love, one must fully embrace the historical roots of the primary focus, in which case is certain women. For the many of you that enjoy a love story that goes beyond the boundaries of typical lust and vengeance, this novel is an asset to the knowledge of romance. Ondaatje is the one poetic writer that can really strain much emphasis on poetic writing, for his works create no less than artistic poetry through a novel, and a love story.

March 9, 2009

Its the Small Things that make a Big Difference

by martazem

The God of Small Things

Marta Z.


            Within the borders of the first chapter of her first novel, Arundhati Roy weaves an intricate outline of events which simultaneously affect an individual, a family, and an entire nation. But make sure to turn the page, as the remaining twenty chapters will not disappoint.

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March 9, 2009

Small Things Were Never Small

by hannalijoyce

Hannali Joyce Popoca Fehr

9 Mar 2009

A Unique Language Reveals the Secrets Behind Roy’s Small Things


The lives of two-egg twins, Estha who is loved and Rahel who is loved a little less, are shaped by small things that happen during their childhood in Kerala, India. Such things are unfortunate and dramatic. They surround the twins’ family and fall apart in the first pages of the novel: the accidental death of the twins’ half-English cousin, Sophie Mol (who was loved from the beginning), and the less accidental death of Velutha (a paravan of the untouchable cast loved by the twins and their mother Ammu). Tragedy revolves around those events prompting the separation of the soul-connected twins, and the passing of their divorced mother at the age of 31. Arundhati Roy’s story shows that “things can change in a day”. That in a Syrian-Christian family where grandmothers, grandfathers, uncles, aunts, mothers, sons and daughters are from a privileged cast, rules of love exist and they dictate “who should be loved, how, and how much”. What the reader will find monst attractive in Roy’s novel are not the lamentable and cruel events taht occur when the family breaks the rules and “crosses into forbidden territory”, but the way the plot unfolds travelling back and forth in time, the language that is used, and the way this language minimizes the discomfort that the themes of the novel deliver.                                                       

Roy’s language is a unique expressive creation: she produces her own terms by splitting, joining and capitalizing words in order to convey more powerful and deeper meanings to her expressions. Some of these capitalized phrases become mantras which direct the reader’s attention to the “small things” present in the story. By the time the love laws, Papachi’s moth, the boat that Estha sat on and Rahel found, lemondrinks and orangedrinks become more than just things in Roy’s novel, the reader finds himself immersed in the world of Estha and Rahel.                       

The God of Small Things is an engaging and captivating novel whose charm lies in the way that raw incidents are told, and the way Roy persuades you to keep reading 20 more chapters although she has revealed you the plot in the first one. The author’s ability to present dramatic events in a poetic fashion full of details and metaphors makes The God of Small Things an addictive reading. You would not want to put down the book until you have met the reasons behind Estha’s two thoughts: “Anything can Happen to Anyone” and “It’s Best to be Prepared”.

March 9, 2009

The God of Small Things

by chantalstrand

Can Anyone be prepared if Anything can happen?

The God of Small Things

by Arundhati Roy

The Small Things seem so much Larger when you look at the world through the eyes of a child. Arundhati Roy delves deep into this perspective through her semi-autobiographical novel The God of Small Things, in which young twins Rahel and Estha share their view of a post-Colonial India. Within this context, Roy examines issues of abuse, assimilation, love, death, and family ties to name a few, emphasizing these themes through repetition and stylized punctuation.

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March 7, 2009

God of Small Things- Discussion

by benjamin73

An Inclass Discussion Converted to Blog

Melissa  Mcmaster and Ben Turland

So we (Melissa McMaster and Ben Turland) were supposed to talk about the novel The God of Small Things in class on March 2nd. But as we know that class was cancelled, also the class on Wednesday was cancelled. We were asked to make it to an online discussion. So if you are wondering why there now are five on-line dialogues you now know.

Whenever you look at poetry you will look for the deep meaning in a single line or a word. But often in prose we look for the overall theme, the plot, the main characters, and the narration tactics. All the mechanics of how a novel is written is an amazing thing. But often we talk “around” the novel. We never look deep into certain sections, chapters or lines. Prose can hold up the same as poetry when it comes to meaning. A chapter in a book how hold as much as a line in a poem and sometimes we overlook that. So what we were going to do in class but now we will do here is dive more deeply into certain aspects of the novel.

There is so much detail in this novel, some much detail in the small things. But why is their a lot of detail in certain events and not in other? What do you think Roy was doing when she attributed mote detail to certain situations?

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March 2, 2009

The God Of Small Things Discussion- The Ending

by tasha

The End of Small Things
Tasha Rennie

Upon finishing Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things, I was quite struck by the way in which the novel was concluded. I was both surprised and satisfied, and I found that it was definitely an ending that invoked thought and reflection on several issues.
Firstly, the novel ends with the description of the love scene between Ammu and Velutha. This is an event which is hinted at and implied almost from the beginning. It is often stated as the cause for the tragic events that take place over the span of the ever-shifting timeline. Additionally, this scene alone has caused quite a bit of controversy due to the sexual relationship between people of different castes: a Touchable and an Untouchable. Roy, herself, was faced with obscenity charges in India due to the depiction.
Why do you think Roy chose to end the book with the scene that is both pivotal to the plot and explicitly stated from the beginning? Do you think there was any intended significance to its controversial nature?
The second to last chapter involves Estha and Rahel’s final parting at age seven and their subsequent act of incest 24 years later. This scene involves much less description or explanation; it is only stated that, “There is very little that anyone could say to clarify what happened next. Nothing that (in Mammachi’s book) would separate Sex from Love. Or Needs from Feelings”(310). There can be no coincidence in the proximity of the final chapters containing the two love scenes. There are many obvious connections that can be drawn between the two. Both encounters contain the breach of societal taboos by people who have been broken by the constraints of society themselves.
What other connections can be found between these two events?
Incest is a universal taboo among all societies, both past and present. However, throughout the novel it is explained that, since their separation, the twins, who thought of themselves as two halves of one whole, have both felt incomplete. The act of intimacy is implied as a sort of healing for both. What is the significance of this encounter for the development of both characters and the conclusion of the novel? Do you think it suffices?
In the final act that involves the twins we see that, “once again they broke the Love Laws. That lay down who should be loved. And how. And how much”(311). There are recurring references to the Love Laws throughout the story; they seem to play fundamental roles in the structure of this society and the story itself. They are the backbone of the history, the culture and the stratification of the society. Roy’s story really seems to explore what can happen as a result of breaking these laws. Do you think that this is one of the reasons Roy wrote this story? Or does she provide any justification for the breach in this propriety. Would it have been possible for these characters to not break these rules? What other examples are there of the Love Laws being broken?
Finally, I find that endings, in general, can make or break a novel. However, with this story I found that I was actually rather torn. Due to the unique format and style, I couldn’t decide whether the novel provided enough closure since we never really find out what happens to Rahel and Estha; or whether closure was really needed. However, endings and conclusions tend to be a matter of taste and opinion with readers. So, what did you think of the ending? Were you satisfied?