The English Patient Historical Context

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The English Patient is set largely in Italy at the end of World War II and features characters from Africa, Europe, Canada, and India. The war is the direct cause of the convergence of the main characters—Kip, Hana, Caravaggio, and the patient himself—at a bombed-out villa in Italy, several months before the war's end. The international nature of the relationships between the characters, and the effect of the war on the characters as individuals and in their relationships to each other, is integral to the development of the novel, particularly the theaters in which the war was played out, and the bombing of Hiroshima that punctuated the war's end.

World War II was a direct result of the failure of the outcome of World War I to provide a satisfactory environment for peace: Germany, who was the loser of World War I, was left in complete...

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