Life of Pi
Joseph Campbell’s Stages of the Monomyth, and The Life of Pi
This paper is to compare the stages of the monomyth and how they tie to The Life of Pi. A hero with a thousand faces by Joseph Campbell goes through the stages of a hero’s journey. The hero’s journey is a pattern of narrative identified by Joseph Campbell, that is found in most storytelling, drama, myth, religious rituals and psychological development. A hero’s journey has three stages: departure, initiation and return, but has 17 total stages. The Life of Pi is a great example of a monomyth, Pi journey consists of three main parts, and each part contains examples of The Hero’s Journey. Through the hero’s journey, the hero transforms their former self and grows and achieves things they didn’t know they could.
The call to adventure is Joseph Campbell’s first stage. When a call to adventure is answered, the hero departs from his familiar world and goes into an unknown place, never before seen things occur there and eventually a victory is won. He then returns from this mysterious land, bringing back what he has experienced to his familiar world.“ This first stage of the mythological journey — which we have designated the ‘call to adventure’ — signifies that destiny has summoned the hero and transferred his spiritual center of gravity from within the pale of his society to a zone unknown.” (pg.48) Answering the call to adventure, Pi leaves his familiar land of India to move to Canada with all their animals, his ship then becomes shipwrecked and he must survive on a lifeboat, which becomes his own personal journey. The tiger, Richard Parker, and Pi must learn how to survive together on the lifeboat. Pi’s mythological adventure fits Joseph Campbell’s hero archetype. As Pi battles the mysteries of the Pacific Ocean he is protected by his faith in Hinduism, Catholicism, and Islam. “Faith is a house with many rooms, oh plenty on every floor. Doubt is useful, it keeps faith a living thing. After all, You can not know the strength of your faith until it is tested.” Says adult Pi.
We then move to the refusal of the call. A hero initially will reject the call to adventure because of the changes it would cause in their life. Moving to Canada would cause many changes in Pi’s life. It is very apparent that Pi fears moving because that would mean he must leave his girlfriend and move to an unknown place. “Refusal of the summons converts the adventure into its negatives” (pg.49) Pi does later accept the call by not giving up and continues his journey. The third stage is a supernatural aid, supernatural simply means ‘above the laws of nature.’This supernatural character often gives them the means to complete the quest. Some of the time the gift is simply wisdom. Pi’s aid could be the tiger because he keeps him going. When Pi feels like giving up he remembers that he is the one giving the tiger drinking water and food, keeping Richard Parker alive, which helps Pi want to continue. “Without Richard Parker, I wouldn’t be alive today to tell you my story.” Says Pi.
Next, in the journey is crossing the threshold, the threshold is the barrier between two worlds.”With the personifications of his destiny to guide and aid him, the hero goes forward in his adventure until he comes to “threshold guardian” at the entrance to the zone of magnified power.” (pg.64) Once the hero crosses the threshold they are entering a new world and cannot return to their “normal” world without completing the journey. Pi’s crosses the threshold when the Tsimtsum sinks and he gets stranded on a lifeboat with a Hyena, Tiger, Orangutan and Zebra. Being in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, with limited resources and many dangers, the animals pose the most danger they are just following their natural instincts. Pi says “I was alone and orphaned, in the middle of the pacific, hanging on to an oar, an adult tiger in front of me, sharks beneath me, a storm raging about me.”
The final phase of departure, is the belly of the whale, the belly of the whale is when the hero willingly crosses the point of no return. Pi faces the choice of survival, his morals start to get tested for the first time. It’s the hero’s choice to give up or survive and Pi has a strong will to survive. Belly of the whale occurs for Pi when Pi lets Richard Parker back on to the boat Pi accepts that this is his reality until he gets rescued, he must show his dominance to Richard Parker and provide for himself and the tiger, in order for survival.
In addition, the next phase is initiation, to begin this phase we start in the next stage of the monomyth, the road of trials. The road of trials is a series of tests, tasks, or ordeals that a person must undergo to begin the transformation. “Once having transversed the threshold, the hero moves in a dream landscape of curiously fluid, ambiguous forms, where he must survive a succession of trial.” (pg.81) Pi’s main trail was taming his co-piloting tiger, aiming to keep himself from being eaten and learn to survive with a tiger. More trials Pi faces are being stranded at sea, finding food and water, all while experiencing grief, hunger and fear. Pi says “Nature was sinking fast. I could feel a fatal weakness creeping up on me. I would be dead by the afternoon.” Meeting with the goddess, this stage is where the hero finds their true love or companion. Pi must form a relationship with Richard Parker, therefore he become is companion or Pi would be lonely.
The next stage of the journey is temptation, the hero is tempted to stray from their quest for personal gain. Pi is tempted by the mysterious island that he found, but then he discovered the dark secret and knew he must return to sea. Pi was also tempted to kill the tiger, when he couldn’t get back on the boat, this would mean that Pi would only have to take care of himself.“All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways. This madness can be saving; it is part and parcel of the ability to adapt. Without it, no species would survive.”
The succeeding stage is Apotheosis, this stage is marked by death(physical or spiritual) or transition to a different plane. Pi experiences this when he thinks about his family and past, putting him in a depression.Next, the ultimate boon, in this stage the hero reaches the final goal, gaining the final reward. Pi undergoes this stage when he final crashes onto the Mexican beach and becomes rescued by some villagers who take him to a hospital. At this point in the journey Richard parker leaves Pi, without hesitation, never to be seen again. “I’ve never forgotten him. Dare I say I miss him? I do. I miss him. I still see him in my dreams. They are nightmares mostly, but nightmares tinged with love. Such is the strangeness of the human heart. I still cannot understand how he could abandon me so unceremoniously, without any sort of goodbye, without looking back even once. The pain is like an axe that chops my heart.” He doesn’t want to believe that Richard Parker would leave him after everything they experienced together.
Refusal of return is the next stage of Pi‘s journey, Pi wants to believe that he survived in the middle of the ocean with only a tiger and limited supplies, but that’s not a believable story.The crossing the return threshold is the next stage, the journey has changed the hero and they must learn to integrate this new knowledge with their life. This happens to Pi when he tells his story in the hospital and they didn’t believe him. He decides that he must tell a believable story, so he changes it into something realistic, ultimately moving himself back into reality. He keeps the story mostly the same, he changes the animals into actual people, hyena symbolizes the cook, Orangutan symbolizes Pi’s mother, Zebra symbolizes the sailor and the tiger symbolizes Pi.
The last stage of the hero’s journey is freedom to live, once the journey is complete and the hero is integrated back into the world, they are free to live their life. Pi now lives in a realistic world, but thinks back to his experience sometimes. When Pi shares his story with others he lets them choose which to believe, but knowing for himself which he believes. “Adult Pi Patel: So which story do you prefer? Writer: The one with the tiger. That’s the better story. Adult Pi Patel: Thank you. And so it goes with God. Writer: [smiles] It’s an amazing story.”
In conclusion, Pi transformed himself from his former self to grow and achieve things he didn’t know he could. The hero’s journey demonstrated in The Life of Pi goes along with the stages of the Monomyth explained by Joseph Campbell’s A hero with a thousand faces. Every hero’s journey follows a predictable pattern consisting of : Departure, Initiation and Return. Pi lived a hero’s life, started as a “normal” person and by the end of the journey was changed, more knowledgeable and essentially a master of two worlds.“
A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” says Joseph Campbell. Would you be considered a hero if you followed the Monomyth stages by Joseph Campbell?
Life Of Pi Essay
What would you do at age of 16 if your lifestyle was shaken suddenly like the intensity of an earthquake? In the Life of Pi, Piscine Molitor Patel, a 16 year old Indian boy from Pondicherry experienced two hundred twenty-seven days lost at sea. Undoubtedly this would have a life-changing impact on some of his beliefs and habits. Piscine Molitor Patel, soon renamed Pi, was stranded on a lifeboat at sea after the shipwreck of the Tsimtsum in the Pacific, leaving him the only survivor in his family. It is in this difficult place, Pi gets the opportunity to question his morals and change his point of view on issues he once held dearly. On the lifeboat, Pi modified three belief that he first learned in India: tigers were fierce, dangerous carnivores, consuming animals were immoral, and that he could be an omnists.
Pi was taught early on about how tiger were ferocious, dangerous and he should stay away. Santosh Patel once said, “I want you to understand that you are never- under any circumstances to touch a tiger,… to get close to a cage.” (Martel 34) One example of this lesson, which was taught by example, is when his father threw a goat into a hungry tiger’s cage. This was a very memorable moment for Pi and it demonstrated to him how ruthless and furious animals can be. In India Pi stated how he believed how zoo animals would only be defensive and kill if you’re invading their territory. On the lifeboat he changes his point of view and learns that you can coexist with the bengal tiger. After the lesson of the goat and tiger, Pi soon gets another perspective on it. He adjusted how he saw animals. For example, when Pi decided to split the boat by Richard Parker’s side and his side. This showed how he adapted to having a tiger on the boat. Pi learns to feed Richard Parker and overall take care of his well-being when he fishes for Richard Parker. In actually becomes responsible for his food and water. Pi not only showed he could coexist, but he begins to view Richard Parker much like a family member.
An example of this occurs when he and Richard P. were stationed on the algae island and every night Pi would wait for Richard P. like a concerned parent, knowing that he would arrive at the boat. In the second section of Life of Pi, Pi comes to sleep on the boat with Roger Parker- as if to disregard the unique lesson his father had instilled in him while in India. The last reason is when Pi made the decision to save Richard Parker on the lifeboat. He saved Mr. Parker’s life as he pulled Richard P. up into the lifeboat. As you can see Pi learns that you can coexist with a tiger despite how dangerous and ruthless they might seem. In Pi’s early life in India he believed that being a coniore was horrible. As stated before, Pi’s father demonstrated a shocking ‘truth’ about animals (especially tigers). Pi’s father put a goat into a tigers den.
The tiger was not fed for two days and was becoming seeming unhenged. That was the upbring of being vegetarian. Pi was disgusted when he watch the tiger eat the goat. “Animals are my friends and I don’t eat my friends.” (George Bernard Shaw). Pi sounds a like like George S. doesn’t he? That is mostly because Pi has referred to animals as his “extended family.” What Pi and George had in common is that they both seem to dislike the idea of eating animals and refused to eat them. Pi finds animals close to him from growing up in his father’s zoo. He knew how they like to lived and what they disliked. He knew what there was to know about animals at the zoo. Pi learns how to adapt to ways in order to survive, even if that means to go against what he thought was right. Pi sadly ends up abandoning his life style of vegetarianism when he first eats his first supply of biscuits on the boat. The biscuits contained ingredientes with animal in it. Starved and hungry, he gave in and ate raw fish, turtles and meerkats.
Knowing how wrong it felt, he compromised his belief. This is just one scenario that shows that Pi changed on the boat. On another occasion, he went as far as to eat and kill a dorado in his own hands. It seems in order to survive, Pi also tried to eat human flesh. This was the flesh of the blind Frenchmen which Mr. Parker devoured by surprise. Pi, as you have seen, did many thing to contradict his own belief on vegetarianism. As a teen in India, Pi has knowledge of Hindu, Muslim and Christianity and in spite of his spiritual advisors telling him to choose one to practice, he decides to embraced all at the same time. Since he grew up in India, Pi embraced Hinduism and said, “I feel at home in a Hindu temple.”(Martel chapter 8 ) He meets a Priest, name Father Martin who tell him the story of Jesus.
After hearing about Jesus, Pi decides he wants to be a Christian in addition to a Hindu. Finally, he gets involved with a Muslim who teaches him about Islam. He likes the praying in the Mosque and ask his parents to buy him a rug to pray on. Pi felt honored and cheerful to have something of that faith that was now his own. On the lifeboat Pi changes spiritually. It is not three religions, but Christianity alone he embraces in the end. He chooses the one that has love as its foundation. It was in solitude on a lifeboat that caused him to trade his knowledge of Hindu, Christianity, and Muslim religions to belief in one God. Pi no longer had head knowledge about God, he had belief in God. The experience on a lifeboat for 227 developed his personal spiritual growth. It was Pi’s extreme circumstances forces him to made life-death decisions for himself.
There was no one available who could make them for for him. This is important because you will have to make many choices in life. Sometimes others can strongly influence your decisions, as Mr. Kumar and Mr. Kumar inspire Pi to study science and religious studies, but there are some choices you alone must make. It is your own personal journey that will enable you to know rather believe. As stated before on the lifeboat, Pi modified three belief that he first learned in India: tigers were fierce, dangerous carnivores, consuming animals were immoral, and learns the focus of his religion. As you can see there were many times that Pi’s actions have went against his beliefs enough to change them completely. There were no landmarks of encouragement to keep a sixteen year-old boy left alone on lifeboat in the Pacific ocean alive, except a 450 pound Bengal tiger, named Richard Parker. Pi learns how to survive the only way he could, by changing or modifying some of his early beliefs.
“Life Of Pi” By Yann Martel
The novel Life of Pi, By Yann Martel, shows the readers a heroic journey of an individual who lost his family through a tragic shipwreck and was left stranded in the sea with a companion who was a tiger. Pi, who was left stranded in the sea, fought through many obstacles until he reached mainland and showed the readers his strength to survive on his own and his capability to change as a mature person. Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, shows the readers on how Pi, who is an archetypal hero, undergoes major character change physically, emotionally, and spiritually throughout his whole journey.
One aspect in which Pi undergoes in his heroic journey is the physical aspect. As Pi was left stranded at sea, Pi had to learn to adapt on his own until he reached mainland. Before the shipwreck, Pi had no fear in lack of water, food and shelter, but after the shipwreck Pi needed to find a way to satisfy his basic necessities as a person and also accomodate with an adult tiger staying with him on the same boat until he reaches mainland. In order to do this, Pi teaches himself how to fish for food, how to use solar stills to purify the water and build himself a raft few meters away from the boat, so that he his safe from Richard Parker. The quote “Butchering the turtle was hard work. My first one was a small hawksbill. it was its blood that tempted me, the “good, nutritious, salt-free drink” promised by the survival manual” ( Martel 253), shows the readers on how he has to be physical capable enough to survive on his own. Not only that but as the boat had very less reserves for Pi to feed from, Pi develops a strategy, of eating as much less food as possible and feed Richard Parker limited reserves such as diluted sea water, in order to save as much of food as possible. Also, before the shipwreck took place, Pi was a strict vegetarian who didn’t eat meat. But due to the shipwreck, Pi found himself killing animals and eating them to due to adverse conditions and lack of food. This shows the readers on how Pi learns to conform at the sea very quickly and by adapting through these new adverse conditions, Pi undergoes great physical change.
Another aspect to Pi’s heroic journey Pi undergoes is the emotional aspect of the journey. Pi goes through several emotions before and after the shipwreck that changed him overall as a person. Before the shipwreck, Pi goes through an emotional trauma, when he finds out that he and his family is moving from Pondicherry to Canada. Pi did not want to leave his home country, but later accepted the fact that he had no choice in doing so. But, his main emotional trauma starts after the shipwreck happened. In just one shipwreck, Pi lost all his beloved ones, even his zoo animals he was fond of during his childhood. Losing his parents was a large toll on Pi. Through his journey of being stranded at sea, Pi takes a huge U-turn and matures emotional growth. Pi creates positivity in himself and only sees things that will benefit him. This change in Pi’s attitude seems very abrupt but he grasps onto that small piece of positivity and feels better for it. Not only that, but Pi also grows an emotional attachment to Richard Parker. In the beginning, Pi was very scared at Richard Parker’s presence, and that staying with him on the boat would be the cause of his death. But, by the end of his journey, Pi grew an emotional attachment towards Richard Parker, and that due to his companionship, they both together survived being stranded at sea. The quote “I was certain he would turn my way… In some such way, he would conclude our relationship.” (Martel 270), shows the readers on how Pi emotionally attached to Richard Parker. As a result, Pi’s journey leads to many emotional getaways that greatly affect Pi’s views and the advancement of his character.
The last aspect Pi undergoes through is the spiritual aspect of the journey. Pi, being a follower of 3 different religions, shows the readers that a great amount of his time is being devoted to the gods and spirits. After the shipwreck had occured, Pi lost his faith and spirituality against god. But, even though Pi thought that god turned back to him in a negative way, Pi always had that faith to survive the shipwreck and reach mainland safely. The quote “The presence of God is the finest of rewards.” (Martel 69), shows the readers on how Pi loved the presence of god and was very spiritual. Also, as Pi was a great devotee to god, whenever Pi hunted for a fish and killed it, Pi had guilt smeared all over his face for killing it, showing that Pi’s journey made him recreate his spirituality. Also, when Pi hunted for fish fo his first time and killed it, Pi compares himself to Cain who committed the first murder. Pi believes that the sin he has committed is equal to Cain’s sin, who murdered his brother. Throughout the journey, Pi chooses to lean further to religion and that he believes that God is with him in his darkest moments of the time at sea, showing the readers that Pi became a committed believer in religion.
Overall, Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, shows the readers the heroic journey of Pi after the shipwreck and his development as a mature person. Pi develops physically by learning how to survive independently, emotionally by growing an attachment with a companion, and spiritually by having faith to god. Pi’s quest gives him an improved sense of self of himself and a chance to live a second time as a changed man.
Anonymity – a Wishful Thinking Or a Stunted Belief?
Yann Martel, of The Life of Pi fame says that, “in all big cities the style of life is the same. Same endless array of restaurants; same big museums with the usual suspects; same anonymity which can be thrilling when you are young but which I found got tiresome.” So, you prioritise your nuances in accordance with the walks through the sands of time.
Cities are quintessentially described as a haven of wonders and curiousities. They can also be viewed as the breeding ground for ignorance and competition. In these circumstances, one feels that ‘anonymity’ is a useful tool of sorts, helping one to conceal or reveal oneself, as and when required. Consequently, many do not realize that this feature of urbanism is akin to the Yin and Yang, epitomizing both the good and the bad.
‘Anonymity’ in cities is to people what honey is to bees. A place where no one interferes with one’s life, unless asked to. Where freedom and liberation are the way of life. Where there is a rupture between demands of tradition and dictates of religion. Perhaps, this is the strongest asset of anonymity. Villages propagate an enmeshed pattern of living, where everyone knows about each other. People at two extremes of the rural society may migrate to cities. For the lower strata, anonymity means respite from the daily abuse they suffer on the account of their disadvantaged position. For the poorer sections of the upper strata, anonymity means engaging in low status work that may not be considered desirable in villages. Indeed, living in cities means independence from the shackles of rigid, orthodox customs and unnecessary interference in one’s personal bubble.
However, this perceived ‘advantage’ of living in metropolitans can also prove to be detrimental. The very anonymity in cities renders you faceless. This is highlighted in the psychological theory, ‘loneliness in crowds.’ In the concrete jungle, this phrase sounds like an oxymoron. In the vast swarm of humanity, everyone is striving to create an identity. Ironically, it is the very identity they were trying to conceal in the first place. However, the intense struggle to rise to the top renders many as failures. Their individuality is compromised, yet again. They are caught in a vicious cycle of letting or not letting go of their distinctiveness, which leads to an identity crisis as far as the troubled people are concerned.
Nonetheless, this is a very simplistic view of the situation. Currently, we are living in the Internet Age. Living like a mendicant in the city has become a utopian view. Internet and social networking sites have compressed the space offered by the urbanisation. Earlier, they seemed as an instrument to make urban dwellers feel less lonely and establish ties with like-minded people. Unfortunately, this has tarnished the attraction of anonymity. Now Facebook, Instagram or Twitter help anyone to know about everyone at the click of a button. Hence, those who seek solace in anonymity are deprived of it. For many famous film stars or politicians, anonymity remains, but an unattainable elixir.
Hence, there is a need of pondering over the means to counter the various challenges that anonymity poses. If we take inspiration from the model of secularism adopted by India, practising ‘principled distance’ is the best strategy to counter this problem. This means that the people living in any society should honour the privacy of each other, as well as intervene to help whenever required. After all, every society strives on tolerance and interdependence. A co-operation between the media, the government and like-minded citizens is required to achieve this goal. Also, helping people to become emotionally intelligent is the need of the hour. Cherishing and creating a congruent relationship with each other, while fulfilling the obligations of the society is much required. This issue can be taken up by every individual, who is willing to contribute something for the well-being of the society.
Ayn Rand once said “I, Me, Myself-no contradictions allowed.” This mantra of unabashed anonymity should be diluted with the colour of societal flavours to harmonise with the existing continuum of time.
Existentialist Nature Of Life Of Pi Novel
Major Paper 1.4
An existentialist believes that every individual, thrust into the world with no pre-determined values or nature to guide his actions, is entirely responsible for who he becomes. His existence precedes his essence, and thus, he is no more than the sum of his actions. In Life of Pi, author Yann Martel brings this existential philosophy to life by creating a character who is forced to choose between waiting indolently for death or taking absolute responsibility for his survival. Throughout his novel, Martel challenges the common perceptions of hope, factuality, and reason through the character of Pi Patel, who uses his optimism and faith in the unbelievable to gain strength. Pi ultimately finds the will to live through his subjective, uninhibited, and entirely independent view of reality, thus contradicting the positivist view of objectivity.
In Life of Pi, Martel discredits the assumption that truth is synonymous with fact and that they are superior to fiction. He argues that the objectivity of facts and reason should not define reality or the way in which an individual views the world and his existence. Rather than creating a character who adheres to a reasonable, factual interpretation of his unlikely circumstances, Martel highlights the way in which Pi defines the truth of his reality independently of its believability. And by illustrating the way in which Pi finds his will to live—the hope necessary for his survival—Martel exemplifies the power of subjectivity and imaginative thinking.
Similarly, in his essay, “Existentialism is a Humanism,” philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre argues that the inherence of subjectivity is what enables an individual to define the world as he chooses and to make choices based on that interpretation. Because every individual has a subjective view of reality, every individual is responsible for the actions he takes within that reality. In other words, his decisions and the steps he takes to attain the existence he desires are dependent on how he views his circumstances and how he interacts with them.
In Martel’s novel, Pi does not decide to be tossed into a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger after a shipwreck that kills his family. But he does decide how he reacts to the aftermath of the event. At first, he is fervently hopeful that others will come to his rescue. He believes that “to think that [he will be saved]…[is] itself a source of hope [and] hope [feeds] on hope” (Martel 119). But in holding strongly to his faith in circumstances and people out of his control, he is preventing himself from taking action to remedy the situation.
However, Pi soon recognizes that he must escape his state of inaction. He will not be saved unless he acts to save himself. Regardless of his situation, he decides what to make of it and how he wants to change it. Pi recognizes that he must “stop hoping so much that a ship [will] rescue [him.] [He] should not count on outside help. Survival [must] start with [him]…To look out with idle hope is tantamount to dreaming one’s life away” (Martel 169). And by comprehending the way in which his hope has been a hindrance, Pi is entering the state of despair that Sartre describes as the realization that he is “limit[ed] to a reliance upon that which is within [his] wills” (Sartre 357). Furthermore, Sartre asserts that the relinquishment of hope is a precondition to overcoming life’s obstacles, and by relinquishing his faith in being rescued, Pi finds his “situation [to be] patently hopeless” (Martel 169). The hopelessness that Pi experiences is what pushes him to take action and to make the attempt to save himself, so, in this way, Martel’s view of despair as a condition of action seems to mirror that of Sartre’s philosophy.
On the other hand, Martel portrays Pi’s lack of hope as causing him to question the necessity of his survival, thus contradicting Sartre’s positive, optimistic view of despair. Pi likens despair to that of “a heavy blackness that let[s] no light in or out…a hell beyond expression” (Martel 209), and when he goes blind and loses his last bit of hope, he “resolve[s] to die” (Martel 241). Moreover, Martel illustrates that there is a certain sense of hopefulness—that which contrasts with the type of hope Sartre denounces as causing a state of inaction—that persuades Pi to act in such a way that furthers his chance of survival. For example, when Pi devises a plan to eliminate the threat of Richard Parker, the Bengal tiger aboard the lifeboat, “a modest glow of hope flicker[s] to life within [Pi], like a candle in the night [because he has] a plan and it [is] a good one” (Martel 159). Though this hopefulness seems to parallel Sartre’s assertion that an individual “ought to commit [oneself] and then act [one’s] commitment,” it is Pi’s hopefulness that induces his action, which contradicts Sartre’s reasoning that “one need not hope in order to undertake one’s work” (Sartre 358).
Though Martel depicts Pi’s hopefulness as somewhat divergent from Sartre’s existential view of hope, the way in which Pi conserves his optimism—through his rejection of objective reason—converges with the existential tenet of subjectivity. In his essay, “Existentialism and Human Emotions,” Sartre explains how “pure subjectivity, the Cartesian I think, [is the] starting point [and] the moment in which man becomes fully aware of what it means to him to be an isolated being,” and thus, “man is nothing else but what he makes of himself.” In Life of Pi, Martel expounds this philosophy through Pi’s utilization of a subjective reality as a means of survival. For instance, in the face of fear, Pi finds that objective reason offers no reprieve. He recognizes that “fear can defeat life” and when “reason comes to do battle…[one is] reassured [but] despite superior tactics and a number of undeniable victories, reason is laid low” (Martel 161). So, rather than confining himself to the “dry, yeastless factuality” of an objective world, Pi holds onto the seemingly implausible reality of being on a lifeboat with Richard Parker (Martel 302). And in doing so, he finds the will to live.
At the end of the novel, the men from the Japanese Ministry of Transport regard Pi’s story as false simply because a tiger being onboard seems “a bit hard to believe” (Martel 296). But there is no way to prove what is fact and what is fiction because the lens through which Pi views his experience is not universal. No one else is forced to interpret Pi’s situation in the same way he does because no reality is objective. Therefore, Pi has the freedom to believe in the allegedly implausible reality of surviving at sea with a tiger because to him, it “is the better story” (Martel 316). Therefore, Martel illustrates the power of interpreting the world as one chooses rather than confining oneself to the indisputability of objective reason. Thus, this aspect of Martel’s novel parallels the existential attitude that each individual freely defines and interprets his existence as he chooses.
Nevertheless, there is an aspect of Martel’s argument regarding subjectivity that contradicts Sartre’s position: theism. Sartre, an atheistic existentialist, reasons that if man’s existence truly precedes his essence, then there is no God—no “supernal artisan” with a conception of each individual prior to the individual’s creation (Sartre 348). In contrast, Pi’s character holds firmly to his belief in God throughout the novel, and his faith is what perpetuates the creation of his essence, his individual existence. Despite a lack of reasonableness and scientific substantiation, Pi believes in God because it offers him hope and motivates him to live. Pi believes that he “would have given up…if a voice hadn’t made itself heard in [his] heart [a] voice [saying], ‘I will not die. I refuse it. I will make it through this nightmare [and] beat the odds, as great as they are” (Martel 148). This voice, which Pi interprets to be that of a higher being, is what drives him to “put in all the hard work necessary [to live because] so long as God is with [him], [he] will not die” (Martel 148). In this way, Pi’s character remains “something which propels itself towards a future and is aware that it is doing so” despite his theistic beliefs (Sartre 349). Thus, the piety of Pi’s character seems to contradict Sartre’s Godless existentialist philosophy.
However, though his belief in God pushes Pi to further develop his essence, Pi has chosen to interpret the voice he hears as that of God. In other words, the decision to have faith in God is Pi’s decision, which coincides with Sartre’s claim that “if a voice speaks to [an individual], it is still [the individual himself] who must decide whether the voice is or is not that of [a supernatural being]” (Sartre 351). Therefore, Martel illustrates how subjectivity can offer the reassurance necessary to survive in even the most life-threatening circumstances. Thus, Life of Pi affirms Sartre’s view of existence as inherently subjective despite the theism of Pi’s character.
Lastly, Martel introduces several different religions throughout his novel, and rather than adhering to the conventionality of one faith, Pi chooses to practice aspects of three different religions: Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. By following various religions, Pi is choosing his faith entirely independently instead of letting the values of one religion dictate his outlook on life. Pi recognizes that he has the freedom of choice—the “freedom of practice” (Martel 68)—and through his exploration of faith rather than blind devotion to a single religion, he is operating under the existential principle that Sartre phrases as “every man in possession of himself as he is” (Sartre 349). In other words, Pi does not confine himself to a set of obligatory a priori values set by a single religion. Rather, he chooses for himself the values by which he lives. Through Pi’s unconventional approach to religion, Martel illustrates how an individual can believe in God while still recognizing he is without a “luminous realm of values [or] means of justification” (Sartre 353). Pi understands that he is “condemned to be free [and] responsible for everything he does” (Sartre 353), and thus, his character remains in the territory of existentialism as Sartre describes it.
Overall, neither Sartre nor Martel argue that an individual is entirely in control of his reality, nor do they claim that God exists or the story of Pi aboard a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger is factual. Instead, Life of Pi and “Existentialism is a Humanism” exemplify the power of subjectivity and an individual’s freedom to interpret his circumstances as he chooses. There is not a single lens through which every individual views the world, and thus, there is no single reality, no single truth. Reason and fact do not save Pi; Pi saves himself. And he does so by viewing the world as he chooses rather than confining himself to the inflexibility of a rational, indisputable, objective world.
Literature Analysis Of Yann Martel’s Novel “Life Of Pi”
In Yann Martel’s novel “Life of Pi” the keynote of narration is enforced from the starting point of the novel with the Author’s Note. When Francis Adriubasamy says “I have a story that will make you believe in God”, it likewise anticipates that there is a close connection amongst the plot and religion. Stories and religious symbols of Hinduism, Christianity and Islam are noticeable all through the novel and religion is the thing that winds up saving Pi. By binding in storytelling and faith, Martel has made a book difficult to accept and realistic in the meantime. In Martel’s novel, Pi requests that perusers have idyllic confidence in the story with the animals since that story is “the better story”. Pi parallels graceful faith in the better story with religious confidence through the words, “And so it goes with God”. This phrase, “And so it goes with God,” is the thing that scholarly commentator, Steven Burns alludes to as “the punch line of the novel”. This phrase is a ponder, coordinate story challenge. Martel proposed for his novel to aesthetically and etymologically challenge perusers to give confidence to a possibility by figuratively connecting religion and story together.
There are two noteworthy ‘jumps’ that happen, toward the start and closure of the novel. It conjointly resembles a story that increasingly consoles the reader to believe Pi, and afterwards, God or the next being. In turn, this provides a gap for the reader, to not solely believe the novel however understand it brazenly, to spot corresponding views, values and conjointly parallels among the novel. Martell takes readers on a man-made, nevertheless sacred and conceivable journey.
The entire whole novel is available for interpretation and can be perused in different distinctive routes, confiding upon your capacity to trust and accept. It also rotates around the philosophical concept that ‘anything is possible’. Clarifying that since particular things or occasions haven’t happened so far, doesn’t mean they won’t in future. Toward the start of the novel, Pi is passed on to be a very non secular boy who obtains a passion for animals. The religious viewpoint skews off throughout the novel, when Pi is figuring out how to survive on the boat with the tiger, in which his religious nature is addressed significantly, in terms of its credibility. He obliges perusers with a particulars and brief clarification of his three religions, demonstrating that he knows them well. And his broad learning and knowledge of all animals, and enthusiasm for hypothetical sciences of their instinctual practices and propensities, accustomed that he spent most of his time in a zoo. Obviously, displaying that when perusers are sufficiently given conceivable data, in little measurements, they are satisfied. Even so, interpretation is as yet conspicuous and perusers are enabled the decision to trust or not to trust. On the other hand, more significantly perusers are intentionally determined to need to comprehend and trust Pi. Additionally, given that there is relevant and prior knowledge of the very fact that Pi lives and survives, it mechanically ensures hope.
Religion with its numerous requests and guidelines may likewise be viewed as interruptions on individual flexibility. Be that as it may, Pi safeguards religion in a similar way he guards zoos. In his perspective, the confinements of religion give a comfortable and agreeable life and individuals lean towards not to leave since life outside is afflicted by contrast. Religion is a technique people have created of making their lives more pleasurable, more important, and more reasonable.
From the very starting point, Pi is confronted with an overwhelming challenge: narrating a story that will influence a man to have confidence in God. That is to say, let’s be honest, that is a really difficult request. A few perusers may stay unconvinced and trust his second story, however, on account of The Author, who straightforwardly discloses to Pi that he inclines toward the story with Richard Parker, and together with the Japanese authorities who say a similar thing and even put in their report that it was miraculous that Pi managed to survive 227 days on a boat with a tiger. Pi effectively enables cynics to conquer one of the biggest obstacles to faith – “believing in the unbelievable. Believing in the impossible.”
Since Pi combines the Japanese authorities’ inclination with the story with the animals with the line, “so it goes with God,” it is difficult to totally isolate the question from religious philosophy. Through his multi-religion foundation, Pi does not trust that any of the world’s religions are a one-stop look for reality of God – and his objective isn’t to change somebody to a particular authoritative opinion. Rather, his story is set up to enable perusers to consider which form of the world they lean toward – the one where we make our own course and endure the haziness by means of self-assurance, or the one where we are helped by an option that is more noteworthy than ourselves, paying little respect to which rendition of “God” we may acknowledge.
The novel Life of Pi by Yann Martel
The novel Life of Pi by Yann Martel has too many characteristics of a fairy tale, too many instances that make little to no sense; The story about being in the raft with the animals is cute and all but it doesn’t seem real, its made up a fantasy. The story where pi talks about being on the little boat with his mother, a sailor and the cook is more realistic. It gives you more information to piece together so you have more of an understanding of Pi and gives you an insight into the trauma he survived. Pi was in the water for 227 days, how can one person survive that long with only himself and a wild tiger, the answer is he cant. But if he had 3 humans with him than he could have a good amount of time surviving. I believe some of his story with the animals is, in fact, true but its more of a hidden illusion to the story with the humans. there are too many pieces of the animal story where it shows that pi is losing his grip on reality, and paints a picture that can easily be linked to the human story.
The dream rag, in my opinion, plays a big part in how close to death Pi really was. It is my belief that Pi fantasized about the French man in the boat and ultimately the whole part with the blind French man was really Pi killing the cook and his brain was somehow trying to process what he had done “something in me died then that has never come back to life”.(Martel 283) Before Pi’s encounter with the blind French man, he wrote in his diary that he was going to die “It’s no use. Today I die. I will die today. I die” 266 Already we can see that his sanity its slowly leaving him. He’s come to a realization that he’s going to pass on and be with the god and his family. Then we get a weird disturbed view of Pi excepting that he was going to die” By the next morning. I had lost all fear of death, and I resolved to die.”(268) With Pi’s resolve that he’s going to die, some odd things happen. He goes blind, meets a blind French man, and they talk about food. Starved with hunger and thirst, we can see that Pi’s mind was unravelling, his delusions are played out. Enter Richard Parker, kills the blind French man and eats the body, Pis vision comes back and sees ” His butchered, dismembered body lay on the floor of the boat.” (283) he continues this by saying “I will further confess that, driven by the extremity of my need and the madness to which it pushed me, I ate some of his flesh.”(284) The floating island bears too much of a coincidence to the garden of Eden. when Pi first sees the island he says ” The trees were beautiful. They were like none I had ever seen before… These leaves were brilliantly green, a green so bright and emerald that, next to it, vegetation during the monsoons was drab olive” (284/285). Not to mention in the novel it even says ” look for green”(286) in the survival manual.
Pi sees a certain tree and says he thought it smelled like a ” lote tree”(289) in Islam the lote tree is a doorway to heaven. solidifying this evidence is when Pi finds the fruit. on a branch that is twisted and the fruit looked black. Pi could have chosen to not go for the fruit instead he could have had the meerkats but much like Adam and Eve he wanted the fruit. what he found was teeth, the teeth are an illusion to his mother’s teeth or even the cooks. The teeth are an allegory to his preditor side. Since the island is basically the garden of Eden when Pi finds the teeth its god telling him he’s not welcome because of what he did and that he must leave. he must leave the holy place and go elsewhere, and so he does leave the island and goes back on the boat and sails off. dissociative identity disorder (DID) also referred to by (MPD) Multiple Personality Disorder is a condition that originates from trauma. An alter or extension is created unintentionally to help you cope with the reality around you. They are created in moments of pain, anger, sadness, the wishing of the pain being thrown to someone else. Your mind is a very powerful tool in doing this lots of times people aren’t even aware that they hypnotize themselves to create a alter, and that’s what Pi did. Like lots of different alters, Richard Parker is mainly his anger, vicious and animalistic side. Pi portrayed as a kind, caring boy who is a vegetarian and looks to religion, Created Richard Parker when his mother was killed by the cook.
We see this reference “Worse still, he met evil in me-selfishness, anger, ruthlessness. I must live with that.” (345) Pi refers himself as ruthless and that he is evil, coming from someone who couldn’t kill an animal, is a very large jump to someone who can eat and kill people ” His heart was a struggle-all those tubes that connected it. I managed to get it out. It tasted delicious, far better than turtle. I ate his liver. I cut off great pieces of his flesh” (345) He also created Animals for each person that was on the boat with him. He named his mother Orange juice “she came floating on an island of bananas in a halo of light, as lovely as the Virgin Mary. The rising sun was behind her. Her flaming hair looked stunning” (123) The other story he says it by “Mother held on to some bananas and made it to the lifeboat” (337). The hyena ” It looked up at me. Its mouth was red” (145) was the cook ” He appeared when he through my mother’s body overboard. His mouth was red.” (344). Pi also connects the fight between the two “The hyena came back. It jumped on the bench and caught orange juice at the wrist before she could strike. Orange juice hit the hyena on the head with her other arm, but the blow only made the beasts snarl viciously. She made to bite, but the hyena moved faster… To the end she reminded me of us: her eyes expressed fear in such a humanlike way, as did her strained whimpers. She made an attempt to climb onto the tarpaulin. The hyena violently shook her. She fell off the bunch to the bottom of the lifeboat, the hyena with her. I heard noises but no longer saw anything” (144/145) Connects to this passage ” They were fighting. I did nothing but watch.
My mother was fighting an adult man. He was mean and muscular. He caught her by the wrist and twisted it. She shrieked and fell… I couldn’t see her. She was at the bottom of the boat. I only saw him.” (343/344) Pi also connects how the animals die and how his mother and the other humans on the boat die. The Zebra is killed off first by having its hind leg ripped off by the hyena. Then the orange juice is killed off by the hyena, and lastly, Richard Parker takes out the hyena and eats it. The human story goes the same way. The cook chops off the sailor’s leg, soon the sailor dies, then the cook kills Pi’s mother, and then Pi goes after the cook and eats him. “when your own life is threatened, your sense of empathy is blunted by a terrible, selfish hunger for survival” (133) Sometimes in life, people are thrown into horrible experiences and the only way they can cope is to let go and let someone else take control of the situation. When your body is too weak to do anything. When you give up. When you wish with all your might that the torture is thrown to someone else, Our mind answers our prayers and we create something to help shield us from the pain others are giving us. It lets us sit back and not have to deal with the abusive, gives us a moment of reprieve. The fortunate thing is if Pi did not create the story with the animals and create Richard Parker, he would be dead. The floating island aka Garden of Eden shows just how close to death he was. Without the aid of Richard Parker, his alter, he would have perished.
Life Of Pi: Ang Lee’s Movie
Film adaptation is a delicate science for filmmakers, authors, and fans of the original book. In the case of Ang Lee’s adaptation of “Life of Pi” the film is beautiful in its scope, and doesn’t necessarily fail as a film itself, yet it suffers because for being just loosely tied to the book’s original point and characterization.
First and foremost, Pi’s character is not terrible in the film yet it extremely off in terms of decision-making. This is not due to the actor(s) portraying Pi, this is because of writing. In many cases an actor can make or break a character, for example, Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal as Sherlock Holmes was so well received it became a defining feature of his career. In the case of Suraj Sharma, he displays incredible talent as an actor and clearly worked well with the text he was given. After all, he must carry a majority of the whole story by himself, only working off CGI animals for at least half the film. Sharma is one of those actors who can display a lot of emotions with his facial expressions, a trait displayed most prominently during the scene where he tells the second story without the animals. His raw voice and expressions are what make it difficult for the audience to discern whether the second story is a put on or the first story happened at all, which is a beautifully done adaptation of the book’s ending where no emotion was detailed for that story-in other words, that was all the work of the actor pulling emotion from the text. However, the text in the book as opposed to the script is where the differences become obvious. Two of the biggest examples are his introduction to Richard Parker and training of Richard Parker. First off, the book explicitly states Pi never did and would never attempt to feed a tiger by hand. Not only does he do this in the movie, but the scene is framed in a way that makes the audience think Pi might’ve been safe with Richard Parker even if his father hadn’t interrupted. This is not animal behavior, even animal experts who bond with animals like Richard Parker enough to pet them and play with them do not try feeding them by hand unless they are cubs. Even then, they are usually feeding them from a bottle with protective gloves and gear. Secondly, the tiger used to illustrate the danger of animals isn’t Richard Parker in the book. Instead, it’s a tiger named Mahisha who attacks the goat and hasn’t been fed for three days. This sets up the potential for danger Pi is in on the lifeboat but also keeps Richard Parker’s specific temperament unknown to the reader until he is on the lifeboat. For both these points, it may be argued that changes needed to be made for running time. However, in the book the warning about dangerous animals is random for both Pi and his brother Ravi, so there is no need for cutting some explanation out. If the point was to create a reason, then by comparison it would’ve made more sense to have Ravi be the one try something dangerous with the animals than Pi. Despite this also not happening in the book, Pi is established as being knowledgeable about dealing with animals, while Ravi is established as having no interest in the zoo and frequently causing trouble. The second example also disregards a whole plot of the book just for a comedic gag. In the book, the methods Pi uses to train Richard Parker and keep peace between them work and even hold moderate scientific merit. In the film, it’s portrayed as a failed attempt that is never picked up again and explicitly stated as a failure. Not only does this disregard the characterization of Pi as a person who is knowledgeable about animals, it again disregards animal behavior which was very well portrayed in the book.
Ang Lee added a lot of pointless threads or disregarded material that made it’s former meaning pointless. As mentioned, Pi loses some major facets of his personality portrayed in the book, turning him into more of an “every man” trope for the audience to relate to. In the same way that Bella from Twilight was used to allow teenage girls to slot themselves into the role to both engage and make the audience sympathize. What Lee missed in this regard is obvious: The story is about a boy on a lifeboat with a tiger. The description alone is guaranteed to raise eyebrows provide immediate sympathy for the character. Even if they don’t show sympathy, the story is already unique enough to garner interest and get the audience listening. So there is no point in making Pi Patel an “every man.” Also, the addition of the character Anandi as a love interest for Pi was entirely pointless. Not to say that adding more female characters is bad, it gives work to actresses and makes the story less of a sausage-fest. The problem with Anandi is that even in the context of the movie, her character added nothing to the story. As Pi’s love interest and a female, her character’s existence lets the audience know Pi is straight. Yet at both the end of the book and movie, we see him married with children to a woman. Thus, this is pointless. There is a scene where she notes the body language of Richard Parker to Pi, so it could be she is teaching him something he’ll use later. Except his father and studies already are insinuated to have taught him this information. Again, pointless. Anandi and Pi also make promises to see each other again when he moves, so it could be said she’s his reason for living. Again, this is made pointless because the whole storyline of both the book and movie is about the innate survival instinct in all of us.
There are methods to satisfy both the story needs and the film needs, which Ang Lee either didn’t see or disregarded. If the point of Anandi’s character was just to make the story less male-heavy, why not make one of the Mr. Kumars a woman? Both Mr. Kumars are integral to Pi’s character development, both characters meet at the zoo with the animals, and both were cut from the movie despite their significance. Making one of the Kumars a woman would even mirror his parents, one man and one woman. Another option might be to change the priest in the church to a nun, again playing into Pi’s character development and making the movie less male-centric. However, if Ang Lee was uncomfortable gender-swapping roles, why not then give the mother more scenes? The father already has major scenes in the movie, and the mother has an established character and scenes that are also integral to Pi’s development in the book. There are plenty of characters that could be re-added or explored further to make up for the time Anandi had on screen and give more substance to the story.
The movie is beautifully filmed and if one hasn’t read the book, the movie on its own is a great story. The scenes where the water appears to glow in the darkness and Pi imagines looking through the eyes of Richard Parker are breathtakingly gorgeous. These aren’t even scenes necessarily taken from the book, yet Ang Lee’s decision to add them in was a grand idea that was equally well-executed. For all the issues with adaptations from book to film, the cinematography and direction are great strengths. The book was not short on good imagery, but as a literary medium the point for the book was to allow the audience to imagine Pi’s experiences based on his words. Meanwhile, film is a visual medium, thus a lot of effort always needs to be put into the visual aspects-which may account for some of the writing deficiencies. However, the film is entertaining and provides a poignant story. The acting, the direction, and (again) the visuals are the strongest points of the film which makes for excellent film-making. The only real crime of the film was that it came so close to being a faithful adaptation of the book, but missed key points and made strange choices to account for those mistakes. Yet the movie didn’t butcher the original story, like some adaptations do. If Ang Lee had made the story a Doctor Doolittle style comedy about a boy and his tiger companion, for example, then that would be butchering the story-even if he did only use text from the book for dialogue. Since nothing like that happened, it can’t really be said he tore apart the material. The poor transfer of character and original meaning to screen make it a hit and miss adaptation, but the sublime acting and direction make it a wonderful movie on its own.
Overall, readers of the book will not find a faithful adaptation to the book but people who want to see a great film will be more than pleased. For some, the book-to-film treatment of the morals and characters may be too much for the loyal book lover to sit through, and for good reason. The film, however, is not beyond enjoyment and can definitely be watched again many times in its own right.
A Severe Life Conflict in Life Of Pi And The Odyssey
The Effects of Conflict in Human Life
Every human has faced conflict – of various intensities – in their life, no matter their age. Odysseus from Homer’s The Odyssey and Piscine Patel from Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi are special cases though. They faced severe adversities in their time, and against all odds made it through. The conflict in their life did indeed force them to change for the better. They changed for the better because the conflict forced them to humble themselves, consider the perspectives of others, and adapt their views on life after the conflict was resolved.
Odysseus in Homer’s The Odyssey was a determined, persistent man – this is a given. He was the leader of a mighty country (Ithaca), and also the leader of the country’s powerful military. However, on the way back from a lengthy war, Odysseus’s determination was pushed to its limits as he was forced to have a troublesome journey home. He faced many conflicts during the Journey, one of which was his encounter with Polyphemus the cyclops. Odysseus and his small crew of men were trapped in a cave with this frightening beast of a creature, and needed to find their way out. Odysseus, being the strategic mastermind that he is, found a way out (with the help of the goddess Athena). As Odysseus was escaping the cave, he arrogantly gave his name to the monster Polyphemus, thus dooming the rest of his journey home: “Cyclops, if any man on the face of the earth should ask you who blinded you, shamed you say so- say Odysseus, raider of cities, he gouged out your eye!” (Homer IX.558-660). Odysseus was humbled by this experience because he realized that sometimes it was better to not take credit for something. By giving his name to Polyphemus, the cyclops had a name to give the gods – therefore Poseidon put a curse on Odysseus, prolonging his difficult journey even further. When Odysseus arrives to his homeland of Ithaca, he is a much more modest man; he even goes so far as to disguise his appearance rather than announce that he has returned home. This is a direct result of his conflict. This mindset presumably stays with him for the rest of his life: the Odysseus from before the Trojan war is significantly different than the one that arrives home after 20 years.
In Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi, Piscine (or Pi) Patel was also a very strong man, although in a different way than Odysseus. After a series of unfortunate events, Pi is left stranded at sea for 227 days with only a bengal tiger to keep him company. This conflict/journey affected him very much, both mentally and physically. One mental change that Pi underwent during this journey was more self-awareness – he was humbled. Pi was already a very religious child beforehand (he practiced 3 religions after all), but this experience made him even more aware of how insignificant he was in the grand scheme of the planet. In one part of the story, there is a giant storm, bigger than any Pi has seen before. And as he is in the middle of the sea rather than safely on land, Pi gets to experience the full wrath of it; in fact, he was almost struck by lightning: “The water was shot through with what looked like white roots; briefly, a great celestial tree stood in the ocean. I had never imagined such a thing possible…it was something to pull me out of my limited mortal ways and thrust me into a state of exalted wonder…I was dazed, thunderstruck-nearly in the true sense of the word” (Martel 233). With such a spectacle unfolding right before Pi’s eyes, he is instantly reminded of how unimportant he truly is. The conflict changes him for the better because, in this case, he is grounded to Earth instead of being arrogant like others may be. Another example of Pi being changed by his experience is when he is hallucinating talking to Richard Parker, his bengal tiger companion. In his dazed, starving, dehydrated state, Pi imagines a full conversation with an animal incapable of holding one:
“‘Would you eat bleeding raw beef?’ I asked.
‘Of course! I love tartar steak.’
‘Would you eat the congealed blood of a dead pig?’
‘Every day, with apple sauce!’
‘Would you eat anything from an animal, the last remains?’
‘Scrapple and sausage! I’d have a heaping plate!’
‘How about a carrot? Would you eat a plain, raw carrot?’
There was no answer.”
With the last comment, Pi realizes that he is indeed talking to Richard Parker and not another human. This whole encounter, of course, is a figment of his imagination. What is truly happening is that Patel’s mind is having a raging debate with itself: his traditional, vegan mindset versus his survivalist, carnivorous mindset. By being stranded on a boat with essentially no food, Pi was forced to do something he has never done his whole life: eat meat. This instantly spawns on a conflict inside his very own mind: does he stick to his own beliefs, and most likely die? Or does he commit a sin in his religion and try to stay alive, no matter how unlikely it is? Ultimately, Pi chooses become a carnivore with the hope of living. This is a very big turning point in Pi’s life. The first time he killed a fish, he broke down in tears and began praying for the fish and apologizing to God. The faux-schizophrenic discussion in his mind was him subconsciously considering the perspectives of two different groups. And although he chose to eat meat, it was in a time of necessity – after the ordeal was through, Pi reverted to a life of pacifism and veganism. He will also have the wisdom and knowledge from his tribulations, which are very valuable.
In conclusion both Odysseus of Ithaca and Pi Patel faced severe conflicts during their stories. Despite the hardships, both men prevailed and their lives were the better for it. The two became much more humbled, more empathetic, and were significantly changed by their experiences. Homer’s The Odyssey and Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi masterfully presented the stories of these two characters and are essential reads for anyone who enjoys good literature.
Journey in ‘Life Of Pi’ By Yann Martel
In the world of literature, a quest is initiated every time the character “hits the road”; this concept applies to famous journeys such as the search for the Holy Grail or even a trip to the grocery store. Pi Patel, the protagonist from the fictional novel Life of Pi by Yann Martel, unexpectedly engages in a voyage after the sinking of a cargo ship he was on board. Even though he is only sixteen years old, Pi shows exceptional skills of intellect and maturity beyond his age when he survives in a solitary lifeboat with a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger in the middle of the wild, blue Pacific Ocean. The interpretation of a quest in How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster partially fails to correspond to Pi’s miraculous survival for 227 days in the Pacific; nonetheless, Life of Pi is considered a quest due to principles that correlate to Foster’s definition of a quest that present themselves as the novel progresses.
Like a Professor applies to Pi Patel’s journey in the midst of the Pacific from Life of Pi. The structure of a quest consists of five important ideals: “(a) a quester, (b) a place to go, (c) a stated reason to go there, (d) challenges and trials en route, and (e) a real reason to go there”. For instance, the quester is Pi Patel and “it was land [he] had to reach, hard, firm, certain land”. After succumbing the hope of being saved by a passing ship, Pi suddenly realizes that it is necessary to land somewhere where there is tangible ground after the awareness of the unreliability of humanity. Pi is attempting to reach land to “beat the odds, as great as they are”. When Pi was willing to die after sadness overcame his desire to survive, a mysterious voice reassured him of his miraculous situation that “it may be nothing more than life-hungry stupidity” and encourages Pi “to fight to the very end”. There were numerous challenges and trials during Pi’s quest; in fact, they are uncountable. Specifically, Pi had to survive 227 days in a lifeboat with a tiger. Also, Pi, a lifelong vegetarian, had to consume fish and turtles in order to survive the harsh environment. The fact that “the real reason for a quest is always self-knowledge” is true for Pi, although his journey was not intended. Throughout the story, Pi makes an emotional outburst about religious faith and how “every single thing [he values] in life has been destroyed… and [he has] no explanation” for it. Through this quest, Pi acquires the knowledge that he must establish his identity as an adult and how he should compromise the need for survival with the need to reconcile with his society.
Pi’s struggle for a successful quest is clearly visualized in the film adaptation of the fictional novel Life of Pi by Yann Martel. The movie assists the readers by creating a visually stunning setting that helps to reveal Pi’s daily routines and how he reacts to his unlucky circumstances. Some minor details like Pi and Richard Parker, the tiger, losing vision and Pi successfully taming the tiger were removed; however, the film still adheres to the plot due to the inclusion of important details that were crucial elements of the story itself. In order to accomodate the visual and auditory media, new scenes were added where the ocean was overwhelmed with bright and colorful lights of jellyfish and whales. The book included an open ending by allowing the readers to choose whether or not Pi traveled with animals or humans. The movie, however, concludes with the idea that Pi substituted animals to humans to cope with the emotional hurt due to the death of his entire family because of his selfish actions. The film adaptation of the narrative adheres to the novel’s plot—even if several important scenes from the novel were eliminated—and the stunning graphics and visuals of the movie efficiently convey the message of Pi’s startling journey for self-knowledge in a way the novel could not.
Pi’s journey across the Pacific Ocean is considered a quest in both the book and the movie. The text describes in detail about the quest and the movie incorporates those details and creates a visual image for the audience. The comparison of Foster’s formula about quests in literature and Pi Patel’s breathtaking journey with a tiger discloses how sometimes patterns present themselves in an unusual way.