• Michael Ondaatje/Implications on Immigration in 'Skin of a Lion'

    Pages: 6

    A 6 page research paper on how Ondaatje's novel, In the Skin of a Lion, reflects the situation of immigrants and the political power structure in Canada earlier in the century. The writer argues that those at the top of society's power hierarchy during that period, from both a political and financial standpoint, were cavalier in their disregard for the welfare of this workforce, often requiring ultimate effort under unsafe conditions for limited pay, and that Ondaatje's novel reveals the life of the immigrant as it spotlights the complicated mixture of elements that characterized the conflict between majority and minority culture that are inherent to a population that is multi-ethnic in its composition. Bibliography lists 4 sources.

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    Michael Ondaatje/Implications on Immigration in "Skin of a Lion" ? March, 1999 ? properly! In  the early part of this century, immigrants were utilized all over North America to build the structures that transformed nineteenth century America into the twentieth century. Bridges, buildings, businesses of  every description benefited from the labor of immigrant populations. Those at the top of societys power hierarchy during that period, from both a political and financial standpoint, were cavalier in  their disregard for the welfare of this workforce, often requiring ultimate effort under unsafe conditions for limited pay. This is the world that novelist Michael Ondaatje addresses in his book  In the Skin of a Lion. His work reveals the life of the immigrant as it spotlights the complicated mixture of elements that characterized the conflict between majority and  minority culture that are inherent to a population that is multi-ethnic in its composition. In the Skin of a Lion is not an easy book to read as its  plot crisscrosses and doubles back on itself, producing multiple layers of nuance and meaning. It begins with a prologue in which a man is telling a little girl a story  while on a long night drive to a distant city. The story is the novel, and it is his story, although that doesnt become clear for quite sometime.  As Packer points out in his review on this book, the reader is something like a back-seat passenger who comes in on their conversation  in the middle and has to strain to follow what is going on in the story (421). The scene shifts often. Theres a boy in the Canadian woods working alongside 

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