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In the Skin of a lion

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Power of language:
The migrant workers are given English names that deny their culture and heritage. "Charles Johnson, Nick Parker…The names strange in their foreign language were remembered like a number, much like the numbering in prison." "if they speak…in any language other than English, they will be jailed. A rule of the city." They are forced to be alienated from their own culture and are in turn disempowered.

Plight of the worker: 
The migrants are objectified by likening them to the bridge. "a man is an extension of a hammer, drill flame." They are anonymised as they are portrayed as large groups without individuality. "their candles for the bridge dead like a wave of civilization, a net of summer insects over the valley."  They are always enduring harsh working conditions; they ironically work on the "Palace of Purification," but they will later die from "tuberculosis, and arthritis and rheumatism. The workers are likened to animals, degrading them to mere products in building, "The brain of the mule, no more and no less knowledgeable than the body of a man who dug the clay wall in front of him."

The significance of stories:
Patrick is shown as the story teller who “absorbed everything from a distance…" and  " …he himself was nothing but a prism that refracted their lives."  This sets up Patrick as the character to magnify the issues and lives of the migrant workers and their working conditions. Temelcoff is given the power of language he is able to realise that "he has been sewn into history. Now he will begin to tell stories."  This also directly relates to the Epic of Gilgamesh which is the first recorded myth The book’s title is from a direct quote of the myth. "I will let my hair grow long for your sake, and I will wander through the wilderness in the skin of a lion" This emphasises the need of a story teller who must reveal the errors and flaws of the world which is directly represented by Patrick.

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