Anils Ghost Essay

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A common theme through Anil's Ghost is violence. Anil Tessera is symbolic of the Western audience, and the inability to understand the trauma due to postcolonialism. Through out the novel, Michael Ondaatjee uses different literary devices to describe trauma, and what it does to victims during civil wars. As a novel focused around historical strife, there is no mention of government and religious factions. Since there is no mention of key factors to point at Sir Lanka, readers are to take the novel as a commentary about several places that experienced post-colonial trauma. Western readers who never experienced trauma on the level of Sir Lanka – readers will see that trauma is as definable as the disappearances of people during civil wars. Ondaatjee uses his novel to send a message: trauma is incapable of being accurately described and people can only attempt to understand trauma. Yet, readers will never quite understand the mental strain on a person unless the person has dealt with something traumatic themselves. Ondaatjee uses Anil to start off the narration of Anil's Ghost, using her as the equivalency to a Western reader. By positioning Anil as a Westener, Ondaeetje is stating that we have the inability to truly understand violent acts. Due to the protection of western borders, readers are able to look upon civil war killings at a safe distance. “Anil's attachment to things Western result in an inability to see trauma from a post-colonial perspective” (Burrows 168). Even though her roots are attached to Sir Lanka, she represses her past accomplishments – meaning Anil has refused to identity herself with Sir Lankain culture. Anil is a character desensitized to loss from civil war, thus she is a character that most Western readers will be able to relate to. Anil is not the central character of the story, despite her name being in the title; Anil is merely a literary

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