In The Odyssey and The English Patient the main character, Odysseus and Almasy, suffer from a form of identity loss and try to regain it. They both regain their identity through the help of other people. Every person that stumbles across a piece of their past helps them regain a piece of their identity. Because he cannot remember Almasy must get help remembering his past from the people around him. One of his first memories came from the book “he brought with him through the fire- a copy of the Histories by Herodotus” (Ondaatje pg 16).
Hana reads some of the notes that he had written in the book; she reads of the different winds “the — -, the secret wind of the desert, whose name was erased by a king after his son died within it.
And the naf hat-a blast out of Arabia” (Ondaatje pg 16-17).
Before Hana had read this passage Almasy couldn’t tell her the name of the tribe that had helped him after his plane crashed. “The Bedouin were keeping me alive for a reason” (Ondaatje pg 18); Almasy was able to recall what had happened to him and who had helped him. Hana had stumbled on a passage that helped Almasy remember what had happened.
Odysseus comes across a piece of his identity in a different way. He goes to the island of Kalypso and she promises him that she will make him a god. The challenge that she put on Odysseus was to go to the island of the dead. Once he was at the island of the dead Odysseus realized that he did was not dead and he wasn’t a god, this meant he was somewhere in the middle. He found a piece of his identity by figuring out who he was not; he was not a god and he was not dead.” In the armoured bedroom the burned patient views great distances” (Ondaatje pg 135) in doing so Almasy, remembers the desert in Africa, he remembers his adventures. “In 1930 we had begun mapping the greater part of the Gilf Kebir Plateau, looking for the lost oasis that was called Zerzura” (Ondaatje pg 135) he remembered many of his other adventures there.
... a sense of hopefulness from the spiritual world, while Odysseus’ encounter with the dead is mostly frightful and perhaps even unhelpful. These ... the two men’s initial approaches to the dead are slightly different, Odysseus performing sacrifices at the direction of the female ... The Aeneid are both heroes who struggle with identity and purpose, and these identities and purposes are tied up into the ...
All of his memories about Gilf Kebir Plateau made his think of Katherine, his lost lover. Odysseus is remembered of his great conquest when he is on the land of the Phaiakians where Demodokos sings of his conquest. Demodokos tells of the Trojan horse that Odysseus built to trick the city of Troy and take it over. When Odysseus heard this he “melted, and from under his eyes the tears ran down drenching his cheeks” (Lattimore pg 134).
The singer had reminded Odysseus of one of his great achievements that was part of his identity. Caravaggio forces Almasy to remember most of his past right before the crash when he starts to ask questions. “When you crashed in the desert-where were you flying from” (Ondaatje pg 167).
Almasy had already remembered that he was once in the Gilf Kebir and what he was doing there but now he had to remember why he was back there again. “I had gone there to collect someone.
In late August. Nineteen forty-two” (Ondaatje pg 167).
Almasy goes on to tell about Katherine and how he had left her there until he could get help, that was when he got burnt. Hana, another character who forgot her identity due to being separated from what formed her identity, found a piece of it when she met Caravaggio. Caravaggio was a friend of her fathers who had found her in Italy. He reminded her of Verdi someone she “used to love” (Ondaatje pg 32).
She had never really forgotten him she had just put him in the back of her mind. By being reminded of him she realizes “I think I did come here, I have to admit, something at the back of my mind made me, for Verdi” (Ondaatje pg 32).
She has lost her identity because the two people that she most identified with Caravaggio and her father “had left for the war” (Ondaatje pg 32).
... can help the client/patient recall his/her true identity and remember the events of the past. Psychotherapy is helpful ... patients with the disorder: “Treatment approaches for Dissociative Identity Disorder [DID; formally designated as Multiple Personality Disorder] tend ... treatments should form a good overview of the Dissociative Identity Disorder. Though this disorder is very complex and sometime ...
He had caused her to remember why it was that she came to Italy became so cold. In almost any book where someone has lost his / her identity there will be at least one person who helps him / her to regain a piece of it. Almasy, Odysseus and Hana all got help from someone that was able to give pieces of information about their past to find their identity once again.
Work Cited Page Lattimore, Richmond. The Odyssey Of Homer 1991, Harper Perennial, New YorkOndaatje, Michael. The English Patient 1992, Vintage Books, New York.