"In the Skin of the Lion" analysis

Essay by tamooseUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, July 2006

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Michael Ondaatje's novel "In the Skin of the Lion" revolves around the life of many characters and are constructed in short stories found throughout the novel. Throughout the course of the novel, we encounter many different characters. These characters all portray a type of element that brings forth the main idea of the book. These elements include fire, water and air. All of these elements that are represented by characters show us that it guides their lives. Through guiding their lives, we see it through their personality, ambitions and relationships with other characters.

Elements are the basic components of life. The three elements, water, air and fire are employed throughout the novel through the characters of Patrick Lewis, Rowland Harris and Nicholas Temelcoff.

Patrick Lewis represents the element of fire. Fire has the meaning of passion, anger liveliness, adventurous, love, rashness trouble, heat, warmth and enlightenment. First of all, he is a son of a dynamiter and being one allows him to show adventurous and liveliness.

A dynamiter involves the usage of fire in order to activate the dynamite to work, so fire is in play. Even as a child, he is fascinated with the element of fire and we can see it through a scene in the beginning of the novel: "21-22" Here, he sees men skating with cattails on fires. It is associated with laughter, magic, romance and speed which is enticing him into the world of fire. His relationship with Clara and Alice displays passion, love and compulsion which are signs of fire. He tries to seduce her in page 62 . He is described to feel a sense of liveliness due to the fact that he is experiencing love.. (70) When he breaks up with Clara, it is as if he is slowly defused...