"I could wake and raise my eyes to the map of old settlements along the Mediterranean coast - Gazla, Tobruk, Mersa Matruh - and south of that the hand-painted wadis, and surrounding those the shades of yellowness that we invaded, tried to lose ourselves in."

Old Map of Egypt 1766
Public DomainOld Map of Egypt 1766 - Credit: Blundell
The act of mapping is a reoccuring theme in The English Patient. In a modern world, where Googlemaps can show us just about anywhere on the globe, it is important to remember that during the 1930s, when the desert expeditions were taking place, mapping was still an art - the world was still unknowable, and there to be discovered.

The tactile nature of mapping also extends to the idea of mapping relationships, and bodies - something apparent in both Katherine and Almasy's relationship, as well as Kip and Hannah's interactions.