Navigating Transition: Freedom, Limitation and the Post-colonial Persona in Michael Ondaatje's The Cat's Table
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Michael Ondaatje's 2011 novel The Cat's Table follows a young boy's voyage from Colombo, Sri Lanka to London, England. Through this character and the unique environment of the ship, which forms a compelling sense of transitory place, Ondaatje explores liminality and its relationship with limitations or barriers. The young protagonist, Michael, and his companions enjoy an unusual level of freedom aboard the contained and hierarchically segmented ship. Polarization and transition between Eastern and Western culture is present but pales in importance compared to the validation of the self that is located within and defined by the sense of the in-between, an essential rite of passage undertaken before re-joining society.