Compare The Opening of Two Novels The English Patient- Michael Ondaatje Captain Corelli's Mandolin- Louis de Bernieres

Essay by TeenybopperUniversity, Bachelor's July 2004

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The opening of Captain Corelli's is about a Dr Iannis and tells the reader a little about his job, family, and the island he lives on. The purpose this opening is that it allows two of the main characters (Dr Iannis and Pelagia) to be introduced, and also through Dr Iannis' writing we are introduced to the history of the island, and also perhaps its future "the recurrent danger of cataclysmic earthquakes." The English Patient is opened very differently, the first section is about a young lady who is caring for an English patient who has lost most of his memory, but has flash-backs of his past. This has two purposes, both to set the scene, and also to create a mood of mystery and danger.

Although both books contain a common theme of war, the author's have used this in contrasting ways to help set the mood of the book.

In Captain Corelli's Mandolin it is used to suggest that there is a deep emotional and political issue to the storyline, whereas in The English Patient is used to create a feeling of mystery and danger. This reflects the way the authors attempt to gain the interest of the reader; Captain Corelli's Mandolin does this by involving the reader personally. For example, although the descriptions we get are often vague, they're private, "and remembered his wife, as lovely as her daughter had become." This means that the reader will become more interested in Dr Iannis' ideas as they take a personal interest. In The English Patient the interest is created in the distance between the reader and the characters. We are given very little detail about them, except that they are isolated and appear to have no need or want for anyone else. This makes the reader become an...