Class Conflict and the Writing of History in Ondaatje’s "In the Skin of a Lion" The novel In the Skin of a Lion, by Michael Ondaatje, is a complex narrative focusing on class conflict during the building of Toronto’s urban infrastructure – its bridges and waterworks – in the early twentieth century. This essay will argue the thesis that one of the central themes of Ondaatje’s novel is how class conflict shapes the writing of history and our understanding of the legacy of the past. As will be seen, through an analysis of the literary elements of character, setting and figurative language in the novel, Ondaatje’s development of this theme allows us to understand history in a broad scope as not simply a few “great men” but as the legacy of...The end:
.....ibly skilled, the working classes will nonetheless vanish from the history books written by men of the upper classes. The injustice of this reality, conveyed by the almost poetic prose by which Ondaatje represents the labour of his working class characters, powerfully informs the theme of In the Skin of a Lion. In conclusion, we have seen how Ondaatje’s In the Skin of a Lion makes use of a range of literary elements – including character, setting, and figurative language – to reinforce the main theme of the novel: that class conflict and differences all too often shape, and obscure, the writing of history and our understanding of the legacy of the past. 817 words Bibliography Ondaatje, Michael. In the Skin of a Lion. Toronto: Vintage, 1996.