An Examination on the use of Moth Imagery in the Novel.
In the Skin of a Lion is a documentary of Patrick Lewis" growth from childhood into adulthood . Michael Ondaatje describes this transition with recollections of sensory memories. These memories permit the reader to relate to Patrick, as theyare both simple and realistic. Patrick's memories are usually evoked by touch, smell or colour. As a result, it is easy for the reader to imagine their own rendition with some of the imagery used in the book. This essay examines the use of moths and their colours within the imagery in the book "In the Skin of Lion" The imagery of the moths is described using colours, textures and motions. Ondaatje uses colours such as "moth green", yellow, rust, browns, pink, and describes textures such as "rabbit fur", "papyrus textured", and "furred". Perhaps the most visual aspect of the moth imagery is the motion of the insects, which is used both as a description and a comparison. Moths appearing on the screen one night are described as those that "have seen this one lighted room and traveled towards it. A summer night's inquiry." (9). In the Garden of the Blind, Patrick sees the blind woman's remaining eye "darting", and "moving with delight", "and alighting", all of which can be easily visualized. Later in the story, Carvaggio watches a woman in the boathouse. "In this light, and with all the small panes of glass around here, she was inside a diamond, mothlike on the edge of burning kerosene, caught in the center of all the facets" (198). Moths are part of the insect imagery in the book. These insects formed part of Patrick social network because they served as a form of communication for him. His father was a man who was "withdrawn from the world" and raised Patrick and without a mother, any siblings or friends. As a result, one can imagine the solitude that Patrick lived in. Perhaps the moths are more of an interest to Patrick than other insects because of his day to day living.