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Michael ondaatje Essay

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Michael ondaatje Essay


Don't worry

Miss Ventura


27 April 2010

Essay Rough Draft


When we think of the word "love", we usually think of its typical definition: a strong and positive emotion dealing with regard and affection. We think of the warm, sensual feelings associated with the word. This simplistic explanation however, is not always the case. Michael Ondaatje has personally developed a uniquely darker and more mysterious view on what love really is. Through the poems "A House Divided," and "Letters and Other Worlds," Ondaatje uses imagery, symbolism, and metaphor to show the frailty, confusion, and self righteousness that coalesce with love. Love is an enigma, shrouded in painful complexity, and shameful abuse.

First Body Paragraph:

Love in the context of marriage is a delicate and frail entity. While each spouse fights for the upper hand in their union, the love between them starts to wither and fade away. The agonizing struggle for power that exists in marriage is portrayed in Ondaatje's poem "A House Divided."

"Your body, eager

For the extra yard of bed'

Reconnoitres and outflanks;

I bend in particular angles.


This nightly battle is fought with subtleties"

The imagery used in this poem shows the love between a married couple as being out of order, unsynchronized, and destined to fall to oblivion. This can be traced back to Ondaatje's first marriage, which ended. His parent's failed marriage is showcased in "Letters and Other Worlds." "He came to death with his mind drowning."

This is a metaphor about his father succumbing to his alcoholism, which ended in the divorce of his parents because he was constantly inebriated. His stories show the little amount of effort necessary to break apart a marriage.

Second Body Paragraph:

The distance within the relationship of Ondaatje and his father during his childhood, and the fiery tension between his father and mother left psychological scars on the poet. Both Parents claimed to be "the injured party," as written in "Letters and Other Worlds." Another quote from the poem further expands on his father's drunkenness.

"His early life was a terrifying comedy

And my mother divorced him again and again"

This provides symbolism of his father's addiction to alcohol as being a sad, pathetic joke, and his mother not knowing what to do. Confusion is evidently an enormous factor in the element of love. Ondaatje paints the image of love's confusion between a wife and husband in "A House Divided."

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