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Postcolonialism fascinated the art of migration and then globalization and transnationalism that offer different perspectives and interpretations. However, with decolonization, the movements of people have increased either through forced migration or voluntary reason and thus, a large scale of displacement or dispersal takes place and people scatter over various parts of the world. Michael Ondaatje deals with the problem of displacement due to the World War II. This paper focuses on Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient which seeks to explore the identity crisis and displacement experienced both by the colonizer and colonized and the way in which boundaries affects the national and personal identities. It is an antiwar novel. It opens in 1944 at Tuscan Villa San Girolamo in the Central Italy at the end of the World War II. Initially the villa has served as a military hospital for the Allied forces but after the shifting of the war to the north, it is evacuated. Later it is inhabited by Hana, a Canadian nurse of mixed parentage. She volunteers for the war services and she is posted here in Italy. She stays in the villa to nurse a dying, burnt English accented Hungarian man named English Patient. The third member of the villa is Kirpal Singh or Kip, an Indian Sikh, a sapper in the British army. The fourth member who joined them into villa is Caravaggio, a friend of Hana’s father, a Canadian-Italian thief and a spy and captive of German. In fact, all the inhabitants of the villa are displaced individuals, both the Westerners and colonized natives. They are exiles and experience loss of identity due to geographical and cultural differences. They are wounded in the war. The issues of nationality and nationalism are explored in the novel. The novel subverts the concept of homogeneous cultural identity on which nationalism is founded.

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How to Cite
Sangeetha, K. (2019). Identity Crisis in Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient. Thematics Journal of Geography, 8(10), 218-223. Retrieved from