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In Running in the Family, Michael jordan Ondaatje uses motifs, syntax, and analogies in order to build a mythic Ceylon and express his fragmented identity through the fate of history. By employing a sarcastic and ironic sculpt, he creates an example between what folks in the past do to Ceylon and what he is doing in the memoir, he is making a “chart” of his father.

Ondaatje initially uses the motifs of uncertainty, unanswered questions, and what is dropped in translation to highlight that subjective truth precedes target reality. While thinking about Ceylon during his time in Barcelone, he introduces the motif of in-between-ness and hybridity, emphasizing that he is trapped between the two worlds: Ceylon and Canada. He combines the fragmented syntax with “old portraits” (2-3) as being a metaphor to “false maps” (2) in order to emphasize these types of motifs. The motifs of uncertainty, unanswered questions, and what is misplaced in translation are also highlighted through the paradoxon of “rumors of topography” (19), the paradox is the fact since topography is science, how can presently there be rumors? Ondaatje uses what these types of maps project to give capacity to the subjective truth and to undermine specifics and objective truth. The motifs of uncertainty, unanswered questions, and what is shed in translation are after combined with the design of what it means to be a foreigner. Ondaatje uses these areas of his story to show that truth is based on perception, and the course of background fragments his and his family’s identity. He also combines these motifs with allusions of mythological images to justify his own mythmaking. Using the pictures of “satyrs” (17) and a “cherub” (9), Ondaatje creates magical realism to juxtapose the Greek mythological creature and Asian pictures, thus featuring the hybridity and in-between-ness motifs. With each other, these motifs are what allow Ondaatje to create his own mythmaking, and to therefore be able to make his individual fiction and ultimately know his daddy.

Ondaatje also uses syntax to focus on his fragmented and hybrid identity, his authorial equipment also explode time and space in the memoir. By using the écaille sentence “the island seduced all Europe. The Costa da prata. The Dutch. The English language. And so thier name changed¦” (22-23), Ondaatje character Ceylon as a starkly provocative woman, highlighting the fact that his memoir is a postcolonial commentary. This excerpt also echoes back in the title, “Tabula Asiae” (1), which means bare slate, Ondaatje uses that sarcastically, to criticize the colonizers who have only saw what they wanted to see in Ceylon and made what they wanted of the land. The replication of the fragmented syntax as well develops the construction of identity motif. The fragmentary format here is used to describe Ceylon. However , when ever Ondaatje talks about the identity “Ondaatje. A parody from the ruling language” (34-35), he uses the fragmentary format to describe himself and his family members. The explode sentences reveal Ondaatje and his family’s broken, hybrid identities. He stresses that actually at the core of his id, his name is known as a hybrid. The ultimate sentence of just one early passage reads, “here. At the center with the rumor. At this point on the map” (36-37). These final écaille sentences again reflect Ondaatje and his family’s fractured, cross identities. That they quickly have us in the distant earlier to the present, breaking time and space. All of these fragment sentences build the example that Ondaatje makes about the colonizers and himself, Ondaatje is to the European colonizers as his and his family’s fractured, hybrid identities should be Ceylon.

Lastly, Ondaatje uses analogy to compare what people in the past did to Ceylon and what he could be doing in the memoir, he’s making a “chart” of his dad. The list of names that he in one level provides, “Ptolemy, Mercator, Francois Valentyn, Mortier, and Heydt” (5-6), is an occult meaning to essential contributors to geography and cartography. However Ondaatje thinks that he could be considering “false maps” (2), since they are designs of the actual colonizers found and made of Ceylon. Yet , false maps “[grew] through the mythic shapes into final accuracy” (6-7). Ondaatje uses this analogy to explain that such estimated mapmaking is what people of the earlier have done to Ceylon and what he could be doing inside the memoir. He is creating his own fictional works through disregarding objective fact and providing power to the subjective fact, thus “charting” a map of his father through his friends and family. Through the construction of id motif manufactured by the fragmented syntax, Ondaatje creates an analogy among Ceylon wonderful own fragmented identity, putting an emphasis on that his identity is usually fractured much like Ceylon as a result of fate of history. Using the analogie, Ondaatje justifies his actions of creating his own fictional through the memoir in an attempt to attain self-integration simply by knowing his father. Seeing that Ceylon just “pretended to reflect each European power” (29), Ondaatje’s paralleled identification only “pretended” (29) to attain or to have the ability to achieve self-integration, thus putting ambiguity for the actions of Ondaatje in attempting to accomplish the not possible.

Through motifs, format, and analogie, Michael Ondaatje attempts to achieve the impossible task of self-integration by being aware of his father. He emphasizes that subjective truth precedes objective real truth in mythmaking. By conceptualizing a mythological Ceylon, this individual creates his own fable in the memoir. However , the question of whether or perhaps not this individual achieved his goal of fully building that fantasy remains ambiguous and unanswered.

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