Study Guide

The English Patient Winds

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Breaking Wind

"Let me tell you about winds," Almásy says at a moment which probably prompted hundreds of movie goes to get up and go pee or get more popcorn. Winds? Who cares?

And those moviegoers ended up missing one of the most sexually charged conversations in movie history… and definitely the most sexual conversational about winds ever to grace the silver screen.

Also, winds are very important in this story. Trapped in a sandstorm with Katharine (oooh, alone time!) Almásy tells her about a variety of winds, including:

" […] the Simoon, which a nation thought was so evil they declared war on it and marched out against it in full battle dress. Their swords raised." 

The two cuddle up next to one another, and no wonder. (Swords? Raised swords? Wink wink, nudge nudge.)

That moment marks a turning point in their relationship from antagonistic to almost-lovers. This being a movie, we get to see the winds outside whip up the sand and almost bury them, as their love affair eventually will, metaphorically.

And when they emerge in the morning, Katharine remarks, "Our tracks have disappeared." The desert looks the same to us, but with this scene, we know that things are different, and there's no going back.

He's Like the Wind

Winds tie into Almásy's ideas of not wanting to be owned or constrained by borders. His stories about tribes naming winds shows how useless labeling something can be. A wind is a wind. It cannot be contained.

Almásy is like a wind in that way. Also, both Hana and Katharine remark that Almásy is always singing. Caravaggio chimes in that "No one should own music," which parallels the anti-ownership stance of Almásy and his conversation about the naming of winds. After all, music (like the winds) is airy and ephemeral.

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