In the Skin of a Lion


Michael Ondaatje

Teachers and parents! Our Teacher Edition on In the Skin of a Lion makes teaching easy.

In the Skin of a Lion: Part 1: Prologue Summary & Analysis

Driving through the Canadian countryside in the dark hours of the morning, a man tells a young girl the story of In the Skin of A Lion. The girl listens to the man carefully and chooses to believe everything he says, even if he were to say there is a castle outside—after all, neither of them can see anything because of the darkness. The man tries to communicate his various emotions to her, in the attempt to make her see what he is recounting. Meanwhile, the girl keeps him company during the four-hour trip to Marmora.
The reader will discover at the end of the novel that these two mysterious characters are none other than Patrick and Hana, on their way to pick up Clara. This time loop from one end of the novel to the other points to Patrick’s belief that literature is a preserver of memory, capable of freezing time in the pages of a novel. It also highlights the importance of storytelling in relationships, as Hana now becomes privy to Patrick’s personal history.
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