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Michael Ondaatje. Each title in Running in the Family gives the reader insight to what the chapter is about - Monsoon Notebook

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Each title in Running in the Family gives the reader insight to what the chapter is about and holds a significant piece to understanding himself. The meanings of the words in the title juxtapose each other. A Monsoon is a tropical storm where it rains for days. A notebook is something that a person writes information down to reorganize their thoughts. The tropical storm denotes a chaotic atmosphere as juxtaposing to a notebook that denotes order. The irony in the title serves to delineate how Michael Ondaatje is exploring the chaotic lives of his family members and tries to reconstruct his past in his return to Ceylon. The first several words of this chapter are significant as it indicates that this chapter is perhaps a letter written in his notebook. ...read more.


His description of Ceylon is written in long run on sentences, similar to how a video clip of images transitioning from one to another. Water imagery plays a predominant role in his description of Ceylon, as it illustrates his attempt to seam a flowing line through a labyrinth of historical information. He acknowledges himself as a literary archeologist when his "sweat falls in the path of his ballpoint". The latter can also be interpreted as his attempt to unify the quality in lifestyle ruled by the monsoon and season to the people of Ceylon. In the paragraph, he continues to express his alienation in Ceylon by talking about how driving in Canada has influenced how he does not pay attention too much to scenery when he drives. ...read more.


The pace in which this paragraph is read also slows down, referring to him reorganizing historical context to unify his thoughts. This chapter highlights Ondaatje's first experiences in his return to Ceylon. He feels alienated when his 'feet [are] blistering...from the fifteen cent sandals and the obsessional sarong buying". This sentence is significant in analyzing Ondaatje's predicament in understanding himself. There are three rewritten chapters of the Monsoon Notebook, underlining his transformation in his understanding of his identity. This first chapter can be summarized in just this sentence where his Canadian background has led to his alienation in Ceylon and feels that he is segregated from his family. However this claim of alienation is not true. Unaware that he exhibits the same habits of his father, he has a problem with dipsomania like Mervyn. ...read more.

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