Key Scenes In Lord Hardy's The English Patient

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In the course of The English Patient, the sapper, Kip, travels through several scenes and transitions as a person who alternatively becomes detached and connected -- mirrored always by the imagery of explosions and wires. Despite his job as a minesweeper, where he has to be detached by necessity, and the fact that he sleeps in a tent away from the other inhabitants of the villa, Kip eventually becomes physically involved with Hana. But later, after the explosion of the bomb at Hiroshima, he realizes that he does not belong to the society he has been serving and withdraws again. Various explosions continuously accompany his wishes to disengage and to reconnect.

Prior to his arrival in Italy, a key scene illustrates that Kip’s job as a minesweeper
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Even though Kip has been mostly detached from others, forging bonds only with his mentor, Lord Suffolk and later, with Hardy, his partner in minesweeping, he still needs these special relationships to keep himself sane. Before Kip arrives at the Villa, his friend Hardy is the one who keeps him grounded; after Hardy dies, Kip turns to Hana to keep him sane and physically connected to life. When he returns to the Villa after burying Hardy, Kip sees Hana and thinks that “if he could walk across the room and touch her he would be sane,” (113). Thus begins his attraction to Hana. He realizes that “he [wants] Hana’s shoulder, [wants] to place his palm over it as he had done in the sunlight when she slept and he had lain there as if in someone’s rifle sights, awkward with her,” (114). After being so cordial and hesitant around Hana, Kip now realizes that he needs her and is willing to come out of his solitary life. He wants her because he is both sexually attracted to her, and because he subconsciously longs for someone that can give him a human connection. His life has been consumed by preventing death but he is now reminded of the vitality of her life. He shows his longing when “he snips the wire of [the English Patient’s] hearing aid with the cutters and drops them back into the satchel,” (115). Kip cuts the hearing aid of the English patient to create privacy so he can be with Hana. …show more content…
He realizes that he has let his guard down by being involved with Hana. This awakening refers back to his brother’s ideology: that he does not belong with other white people. So he leaves the Villa - this place where a group whose friendship is not governed by nationality has gathered. Kip decides that he must detach from this life and go back to a more solitary life. Even though none of the people in the Villa ever discriminated against him and they felt safe because of his expertise and care, he feels disconnected from them because he thinks he is different and is not their equal and he views the bombing of Hiroshima as a tragedy. Upon hearing about the bomb, his initial reaction is one of pure devastation: he lets out a scream that Hana had never heard “emerge from his body,” and then “he sinks to his knees, as if unbuckled,” (282). He goes to Almasy, putting “the rifle stock against his chest, its sling braced against his triangled arm,” as an act of violence to show his sudden transformation and awakening (283). He blames the English for this barbaric act, saying that “when you start bombing the brown races of the world, you’re an Englishman,” (286). Once again, the symbolism is not lost on the reader: the dropping of a bomb on Hiroshima - a most horrific explosion- is what triggers a personal explosion in Kip. And this explosion happens to someone who has always remained cool

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