Analysis Of Michael Ondaatje 's ' The Family Essay

1028 Words Nov 8th, 2015 5 Pages
Michael Ondaatje’s semi-autobiographical account, entitled Running in the Family, describes Ondaatje’s journey back to the beginning, to Ceylon where he was born into a privileged family, a mixed group of Sinhalese, Dutch, and Tamil origin. The story of his family is a journey through memory and imagination as he attempts to piece together the adventurous and carefree life his immediate family once led – more importantly, the life his father once lived. Although Running in the Family is primarily a work of non-fiction, blending history, fact, anecdote and opinion, Ondaatje incorporates elements of imagination to fill in the gaps of stories where details are unknown or contract greatly. Although Michael Ondaatje travelled to Ceylon with the intent of gaining insight on the father he had barely known, this proved difficult as he received contrasting accounts from different people who had known Mervyn Ondaatje – his father – at different points in time. At certain periods in the memoir, it seemed as though Ondaatje had received more information on other family members than the one he had travelled specifically to know. In the section, ‘The Passions of Lalla,’ Ondaatje recounts the intense and passionate spirit of his maternal grandmother, Lalla. Towards the conclusion of the section, he employs magic realism, a literary genre or style that incorporates fantastic or mythical elements into otherwise realistic fiction.He utilizes this technique to illustrate Lalla’s death,…

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