Textual Relevance of Michael Ondaatjes in the Skin of a Lion

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Exploration of Textual Relevance - 24429687 To say that “every text has its use-by date” is a mistake. Obviously, some texts will eventually “expire” depending upon their relevance to readers in different contexts. However, there are a vast number of texts which will be relevant and significant in any society, past, present and future. This is due to the longevity of the text’s form, structure and language as well as the universal nature of its major ideas and values. Indeed, Michael Ondaatje’s “In the Skin of a Lion” explores universal human emotions such as love and violence, and this is what makes it live on. Through “In the Skin of a Lion”, Ondaatje asserts that life is not orderly or structured, and is without a set pattern or routine. The form of the novel is Narrative fiction but it also draws on the conventions and form of historical fiction such as real non-fiction, histories, biographies and more. It can be said to have textual integrity as a result of the way in which Michael Ondaatje has shaped his novel. Textual integrity can create timelessness in literature. This is reflected in the ways which values within a text are presented, as well as the universal themes discussed. Unlike a typical story, it does not occur in chronological order. This post-modern style emphasises the ‘loose’ structure and assists in providing a sense of memory. Ondaatje draws this style of writing from cubist art. The story is broken up or fractured into its separate pieces and reorganised based on human connections, rather than a linear configuration. Pages 36-38 illustrate effectively this concept of cubism. As Ondaatje describes Temelcoff and how he saves Alice, he quickly jumps back and forth through different time periods to give an overall picture of both characters. “she listens to the man as he picks up and brings together various corners of the story, attempting to
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