The novel In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje illustrates the central character's struggle to overcome his fear of love in an attempt to take control of his life. Blinded by fear, Patrick Lewis must uncover the details of his seemingly forgotten past in order to overcome his fear. He attempts to overcome this obstacle through experimentation and human experience, recollecting forgotten emotions. Although Patrick has experienced love before, he now finds it very difficult to allow love into his life. However, Patrick Lewis is able to overcome his fear through his encounter with Clara Dickens, his reunion with Hana, and his near death experience.
Patrick Lewis' affair with Clara Dickens plays a role in overcoming his fear of love. After his night with Clara, Patrick realizes she is unlike any of the other women he has been with previously. Patrick's fear of love has always prevented him from becoming involved with anyone, creating a life of solitude for himself. However, while with Clara, Patrick is unable to deny his feelings and opens up his emotions to her, connecting with her mentally. Since Patrick has denied these feelings for many years, he quickly becomes engulfed with fears of falling in love. Clara connects with Patrick in a way which enables her to unlock his fears and allow him to experience his feelings. Patrick's emotions toward Clara grow strong and he falls deeply in love with her, which is something Patrick has been avoiding for most of his life. He does not see Clara as a sex object like the other women he has been with, but rather as an individual. Through Clara, Patrick discovers his ability to love, which had been previously impossible through his eyes. With this discovery, Patrick does not want to fall foolishly in lust with many women anymore, but love one woman which he cares about deeply. Patrick expresses his love towards Clara when he tells her "I have given my body to many, my soul to you only.