Study Guide

The English Patient War

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Ever since there have been war and movies, there have been war movies.

But as the wars of the past get further away from memory, and the people who make the movies get older, they started exploring other aspects of war aside from the violence and horror and politics.

Unlike other World War II moves of the 1990's, like Saving Private Ryan or The Thin Red Line, there are very few scenes of the actual war in The English Patient. Most of the film takes place either before or after the war. But the tension leading up to the war—and the attempt to rebuild after the destruction—influences the actions of all the characters, making it an important theme.

Questions About War

  1. How does Almásy alter the course of the war?
  2. In what ways is there still evidence of the war even after the Germans surrender? How does it affect the lives of Hana and the others in the monastery?
  3. Almásy longs for a world without borders. Is a borderless world possible? Will there always be war in a world with borders?
  4. Why won't Geoffrey return to England along with everyone else when war breaks out, despite Katharine wanting to return?

Chew on This

There are no winners in war. We see many more deaths of Allied good guys in The English Patient than we do the deaths of any "bad" guys.

As a wartime nurse, it is Hana's job to help people to heal. Sometimes she takes care of others when she should be taking care of herself.

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