Analysis Of Michael Ondaatje 's ' The Family ' Essay

1057 Words Oct 4th, 2016 5 Pages
The quote within the acknowledgements of Michael Ondaatje’s Running in the Family draws attention to the fact that any history is a story at heart, and like any story, is subject to the story teller.

From the first page of the book, Ondaatje draws our attention to the form of this story, and the flaws therein. The prologue seems to be Ondaatje himself, describing his arrival to his homeland as the author, the narrator. His first act is to draw attention to himself and the form of his story, describing his landing and mentioning his saying “Half a page – and the morning is already ancient.” By doing so he explicitly inserts himself into the book, shows he is in full control, mentioning such physical things as the amount of space the words take up, and announces that the story is subject only to him. This then serves as the beginning of a warning which is elaborated upon in the quote. By framing the entire story with the clear mention that this is his retelling, it creates the subtle introduction to the meaning of the quote, that truth is subjective and it is the meaning, rather than the details the bring a story to life.

This idea is then elaborated upon towards the end, when Ondaatje transforms himself from Michael the character our narrator, into the author. In Monsoon Notebook (iii) and Last Morning, he directly references writing the book itself, fictionalizing the process, and so, the story itself, becoming metafictional, and distancing the story from reality. The…

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