ABSTRACT. This paper proposes to explore Toronto’s cultural heritage through an analysis of Michael Ondaatje’s In the Skin of a Lion. Through various narrative perspectives, we assist, in this novel, at the construction of the city and of various immigrant identities. The city’s memory is deeply entrenched in its constructions, in the blood and mud that make up urban buildings. In Ondaatje’s world narrating the beginnings of the city, people and politics are imbricated in an image attempting to allow the effort of various characters to preserve traces of authenticity. We will look at how the politics of memory shapes the identities of several characters, at the necessity of remembering and at the passivity of forgetting. Some of the questions of this presentation are: How does memory influence the shaping of immigrant identities? In what ways is the creation of the city related to the destinies of individuals? How does Ondaatje narrativize the politics of memory and cultural heritage in his book?

Keywords: Michael Ondaatje; memory; scaffolding; identity; Canada; history

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PhD; Associate Professor at Faculty of Letters,
Department of Applied Modern Languages,
University of Pite?ti, Romania

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