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Compare The Opening Of Two Novels The English Patient Michael Ondaatje Captain Corelli's Mandolin Louis De Bernieres

617 words - 3 pages

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 ...view middle of the document...

" 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 unwanted outsider, making you want to read on so that you can find out their past and secrets.There is very little similarity between the plots of the books. Captain Corelli's Mandolin is written is chronological order and is relatively slow paced, whereas The English Patient contains fast-paced flashbacks, creating further mystery. The style of the books have some similarities, for example they are both written in the third person with one narrator (although later in Corelli's there are narrative shifts) and there is very little dialogue compared to the amount of narrative. However, Captain Corelli's contains more detail than The English Patient in places. I think this is to do with the purpose of each introduction. Captain Corelli's is quite personal and mostly irrelevant details are noted, "its surface was slightly wrinkled," these are the details that Dr Iannis notices, and help develop him into a three dimensional character.In the English Patient there are also abstract details given, however I think these are there to remove the focus from important parts of the patients' memories, so that the reader remains distanced. This is reinforced by the more formal dictation in The English Patient- it isn't as 'friendly' as Captain Corelli.

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