Life of Pi
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.
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.
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.
The Religious Symbolism and Metaphors in The Life of Pi
Religious Allegories in Life of Pi
Religion is a subject that has always been prevalent in literature. The most popular book of all time, and the first ever printed, is the Bible, which is comprised of many stories of faith. In Life of Pi, Pi is an Indian boy whose faith is his life. He is lost at sea after his family’s ship to Canada sinks. He is alone on a lifeboat in the Pacific ocean , save for a Bengal tiger. The story of his survival is a story of perseverance by faith in the face of overwhelming adversity. Authors have always used religious allusions and metaphors to hint at the overall allegorical meaning of their story, and in Life of Pi, Yann Martel does just that. Martel symbolizes the ocean and the island to represent life with and without religion, and he uses Pi’s experiences to draw contrasts between them.
Yann Martel uses Pi’s journey as an allegory for the spiritual journey of finding faith, and his encounter with the island represents the doubt that one must overcome. Before Pi comes to the island, he is alone with Richard Parker on the Pacific ocean, and he has only his faith to motivate him. Once he’s been on the island for a while, he believes that he has all the essentials for a happy life. “What reason could I have to leave the island? Were my physical needs not met here? Was there not more fresh water than i could drink in my entire lifetime? More algae than i could eat? And when I yearned for variety, more meerkats and fish than I could ever desire? If the island floated and moved, might it not move in the right direction? Might it not turn out to be a vegetable ship that brought me to land? In the meantime, did I not have these delightful meerkats to keep me company?” (Martel 279). This quote is used to illustrate how the island meets all the requirements for a healthy life exceptionally. While Pi is at the island, he makes no mention of God, but once he decides to leave the island in search of humanity, he returns to his faith. Earlier in the book, Pi says that doubt is necessary for everyone, and in order for your faith to be strong, at some point you must question it. Pi looks to the meerkats for company while on the island, in place of the humans he longs for. Later, Pi decides to leave the island in search of humankind again. “By the time the morning came, my grim decision was taken. I preferred to set off and perish in search of my own kind than to live a lonely half-life of physical comfort and spiritual death on this murderous island.” (Martel 283). The quote embodies the thesis. Yann Martel uses it to demonstrate the atheistic qualities of the island, and show that Pi has realized that life on the island would not be a life worth living. While he has all the necessities on the island to sustain his life (the physical comfort) , is it worth living without any human interaction (the spiritual death) ? Is it worth living a life with no higher purpose whatsoever, save survival? Yann Martel uses this doubt to compare Pi’s lonely life on the island to atheism, and life without religion.
Yann Martel uses Pi’s descension from human to animal while on the island to prove that the only real difference between humans and animals is religion. When Pi first encounters the meerkats on the island, he sees Richard Parker running through the crowds of meerkats and killing as many as he could. Pi remarks that this is the very definition of animals, killing without necessity. “He killed without need. He killed meerkats that he did not eat. In animals, the urge to kill is separate from the urge to eat. To go so long without prey and suddenly have so many- his pent-up hunting instinct was lashing out with a vengeance. He was far away. There was no danger to me.” (Martel 269). Before the ship sunk, Pi was a vegetarian. Once necessity in the form of hunger drove him to compromise that particular moral value, he could hardly bring himself to kill the fish that he had caught, and once he had, he was beside himself with guilt. Now he witnesses Richard Parker killing all of these meerkats, and his only thought is of his own safety. This shows the psychological progression of Pi’s descension from man to animal. A few weeks later, after Pi has been living on the island for a considerable amount of time, he kills meerkats to attempt to ease the pain of his foot, which was burned by the acidic island. “I took the knife and killed two meerkats and tried to soothe the pain with their blood and innards.” (Martel 281). Yann Martel uses this quote to demonstrate that Pi has become an animal by his own definition. He kills without need for nourishment, but simply to attempt to ease the pain of his foot. These quotes lend credence to the observation because as Pi lives longer on the island, he loses his religion and moral character, and becomes more and more animalistic by the day. In this way, Yann Martel contrasts the versions of Pi on the ocean and on the island, and proves that religion is what separates humans from becoming animals. Without a higher purpose to live for, man becomes predator.
In Life of Pi, Yann Martel uses Pi’s experiences with the ocean and the island to represent life with faith, and life without faith. Pi’s experience with the island is an allegory to the inner struggle with doubt on the spiritual journey of finding religion, and the ocean represents life with religion, where Pi is only able to persevere by faith alone. The island takes away Pi’s humanity, and with it he loses his faith. Without these defining traits, Pi descends into an animalistic existence. Yann Martel makes this particular theme of the book abundantly clear: without religion, we are no more than animals. If you take away all of the technological advances that we have made, all of the governments, societies, and communities that we have made for ourselves, we are just animals without faith.
Life of Pi: the Contrast Between Words and Visuals
Uniqueness is a struggle to find throughout literature, especially within recreations of previously published stories. Once a story is told, the originality begins to dissipate and the audience skews the story. Popular novels transforming into films can be altered as well. This is specifically noticeable in the critically acclaimed story, Life of Pi, originally written by Yann Martel and then produced into a film by Ang Lee. Life of Pi focuses on the life of an intelligent and charismatic man named Piscine Molitor Patel, however, he goes by the nickname of Pi. His family and himself owned a zoo, but sold it to move to Canada, they traveled through a freighter and brought along a few of their animals; however, a storm had hit the sea and the only survivors were Pi and a Bengal tiger, known as Richard Parker. After the devastating storm, Pi and Richard began to learn about survival. The transformation of the novel being produced as a film has minor similarities and significant differences, hence Ang Lee’s theatrical version of Life of Pi does not reflect Yann Martel’s original artistic vision well. For instance, the film includes a lover associating with Pi, excludes a distinctive introduction to his life, the tone set, and his discovery of a new religious study.
To begin, Yann Martel avoids introducing a character that is infatuated with Pi, although the expression of love still exists in his life. Throughout the entire novel, it is evident Pi has love to share, but not towards a female figure. He expresses love towards his family, with respect, also to animals, with interacting, and of curiosity, by taking all opportunities to learn. For example, in the introduction Pi confesses his opinion of life, “Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it, a jealous, possessive love that grabs at what it can” (Martel, 6). He acknowledges that life is extremely desirable that even a horrid matter, such as death, wants it. Thus, the only love clearly shown in the novel is Pi’s admiration for what is in his life.
Dissimilar to the text, Ang Lee’s film creates a character that infatuates with Pi for a short period. During one of his drumming lessons, there is a dance class occurring as well and he meets a young female. They form an intimate relationship with each other, yet he breaks up with her before he leaves India with his family. However, Ang Lee kept the presence of Pi’s admiration towards Richard because their relationship is the most significant one in the story. Despite the inclusion of Pi’s love that is noticeable within the text, the inclusion of a romantic aspect was not necessary. The moral of the story regards Pi and his interaction with life, specifically with the environment and animals. Therefore, the addition of a romantic aspect does not reflect the original story of Life of Pi since it is irrelevant to the moral.
Furthermore, Yann Martel incorporates a descriptive introduction to Pi’s life, which is entitled as part one. Within part one, his childhood is brought upon and the life of him that occurred prior to the family’s flee. In particular, the narration includes details of his study of three-toed sloths, the teasing of his name, the zoo his family took care of, his arrival in Canada, and his religious studies. Hence, part one is to describe his life in Pondicherry, India and Toronto, Canada. The details support who Pi Patel is as a person, such as his characteristic traits, beliefs, and facts. It helps to build the character of Pi. Yet, this was not taken into consideration by Ang Lee.
The film’s introduction of Pi’s life is too vague and consists of unnecessary detail. For instance, the film excludes the details of Pi’s study of the three-toed sloths that is significant evidence of his intelligence, yet the film only includes the scene of a class teasing his name to show the life of education in reference to Pi. With the lack of detail of his education, the audience is absent to his brilliance and determination. In addition, an unnecessary detail that was mentioned previously, such as the romantic aspect of Pi having a girlfriend, is not definite to express his childhood in India. Thus, Ang Lee’s in consideration of major details did not positively influence the original story.
Moreover, the tone of the book and movie were very dissimilar to each other. The tone is the representing mood within a story, and the tone of the book is quite sad because of the numerous experiences of suffering, specifically when the storm hits and he loses the lives of his family members. The dialogue in the book includes the thoughts of Pi, which creates a stronger acknowledgment of his suffering and feelings towards what occurs in his life. Despite the film having minor similarities in scenes, it did not set the same tone.
The movie sets a tone of glory and beauty, regardless of the suffering that Pi experiences. The tone is positive because the Pi’s thoughts are not in consideration and the special effects, such as the hallucinated whale that jumps out of the water at night. The involvement of modern technology enlightens the mood of the audience, especially with the whale because it is astonishing graphics and helps the audience to disregard the bitter moments. Therefore, the tone enlightens as well. Due to the tone having disparity from the original tone set in the book, it clearly does not display Life of Pi correctly.
Finally, a significant discovery is found by Pi, which is his acceptance of the Catholicism, religion; however, it is found differently in the novel and the film. For instance, in the text, Pi, and his family travel to Munnar and visit the Catholic Church. Pi is exposed to Jesus Christ and continues to have sessions with the priest, Father Martin, to increase his knowledge of the religion. Pi respectively considers the religion and learns of it with an open mind; this reveals positive personal attributes of him, such as tolerant and charitable.
Contradicting to the text, the film acknowledges Pi’s Christianity from his brother daring him to trespass into the Catholic Church and to drink the holy water, which he does. He then meets with the priest and learns about Jesus Christ. Hence, there is a significant dissimilarity and Ang Lee’s version forms a negative image of Pi, such as being a foolish and quite repulsive person for trespassing and accepting a childish dare from his brother. Considering Pi was a scholar and a prestigious man, the scene did not express the life of him from the novel appropriately.
Overall, Ang Lee’s abstract version of Life of Pi did not display the authentic written version created by Yann Martel. This is due to the differences that occur between the two literary works, which is evident throughout an addition of a romantic element, the description of Pi’s life before and after the incident, the general attitude that the audiences can create, and lastly, Pi’s approach towards the religious study of Catholicism. Hence, the creation of visuals can ruin the authenticity of the words.
Faith as the Way of Coping with Tragedy in The Life of Pi
In the novel Life of Pi by Yann Martel, Pi Patel too uses his faith in God as a vital coping mechanism to survive in the vast Pacific Ocean. His faith in God proves to be a crucial part in Pi’s survival as it guides him through his ordeal. Pi, a religious individual uses his knowledge of religion to cope being stranded alone on a lifeboat with no other sign of human life. Therefore, Pi uses his faith in God to obtain the strength and willpower to survive, for companionship and to seek important answers.
Pi Patel uses his special faith in God to obtain the necessary strength and willpower to survive independently in the vast Pacific Ocean. For example, when Pi is stranded alone in the limitless ocean without any significant help at hand, he turns to a being much more powerful and resourceful than himself in order to cope with the situation at hand. When Pi creates an orderly list of the things which are available to him for survival purposes such as the 12 solar stills, 1 survival manual and 1 signalling mirror, he includes “ 1 God” (Martel 145-146) into this list. Adding the term ‘1 God’ into a list of survival essentials which are present with Pi throughout his journey clearly shows that Pi finds it a necessity to have God with him at all times in order to survive.
Like the other items on the list which keeps Pi alive throughout his ordeal, God also keeps Pi alive by giving the continuous supply of strength and willpower for Pi to carry on. Furthermore, Pi says, “Even when God seemed to have abandoned me, he was watching. Even when he seemed indifferent to my suffering, he was watching. And when I was beyond all hope of saving, he gave me rest. Then he gave me a sign to continue my journey” (Martel 184). This proves the fact that God was always present in Pi’s heart and mind throughout his journey. Pi uses God’s presence to gain physical and mental strength as well as the willpower to continue in his horrific journey. In Pi’s mind, not only was God present with him, but God also saved his life by giving Pi inner peace and indications to continue his journey. When Pi was at his breaking point, God gave him the strength and willpower to continue towards his survival.
In addition, Pi says, “Mindful practice of religion slowly brought me back to life” (Martel 3). Pi explains how his constant but careful practice of religion slowly revived him during his time at sea. While at sea, Pi still carried out religious rituals which were essential to Pi’s survival as he obtained the confidence and strength to continue. Pi also states that, “ Religion will save us” (Martel 27). Pi emphasizes on the fact that religion will ultimately be the deciding factor between life and death. Without his staunch faith in God, Pi would not have gained the willpower required to prevent him from meeting his demise at sea. Research suggests that 43% of US citizens use prayer for health concerns (Wachholtz and Sambamoorthi 69). These people used the power of prayer to gain the strength and willpower to regain their health. Therefore, Pi’s strong faith in God gave him strong will to survive as he prays during his ordeal to gain in strength because he believes that God is with him.
Secondly, Pi uses his belief in God as a form of companionship during his 227 days in the Pacific Ocean. When Pi is left surrounded with nothing but endless water, he seeks to find companionship in order to stay alive as companionship plays a significant role in human survival. When Pi talks about his experience with the Virgin Mary, he says, “The presence of God is the finest of rewards” (Martel 63). Pi is saying that the mere presence of God with him provides him with the companionship that he desperately needed during his ordeal. Pi also says, “ I practised religious rituals that I adapted to the circumstances and they brought me comfort that was certain” (Martel 208). Pi practises and improvises religious rituals to adapt to his situation and pull God closer to himself so that God could be his much needed companion. Because he practices three religions simultaneously, Pi is able to be in the companionship of more than one God. He says, “I feel at home in a Hindu temple” (Martel 48). This clearly explains the fact that Pi is at his highest level of comfort when he is in the presence of God – thus his lifeboat itself becomes a place of worship and thereby a place of comfort.
Lastly, Pi uses his faith in God to seek answers for important questions. When Pi is left alone in the middle of the ocean, he is left with many unanswered questions such as the whereabouts of his family. When Pi is talking to Mr. Kumar about the existence of God, he argues, “To choose doubt as a philosophy is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation” (Martel 28). Pi argues that religion gives the answers that a person seeks. He shows his frustration at agnostics who do not have a definite answer on whether God actually exists or not. This proves that Pi believes that his faith in God will give him the answers that he needs. Pi also says, ““God, I give myself to you. I am your vessel. Whatever comes, I want to know. Show me” (Martel 285). Pi is surrendering himself to God to end his misery. Pi is seeking an answer to where God would take him hoping that he would be brought back to his family to end his misery in the ocean. Pi also asks Father Martin, “What kind of a god is that” (Martel 56). Pi seeks answers to the origins of Christianity and facts about Jesus. Pi is curious about the fact that a God is willing to sacrifice his own son for the sins of other people. With knowledge of Christianity at hand, Pi uses this knowledge to gain answers by asking God for help during his ordeal.
In conclusion, Pi Patel makes full use of his religious and spiritual beliefs to help him in many various ways throughout his 227 day ordeal in the ocean. Pi uses his beliefs to gain the raw strength and mental willpower to survive, to use God as his companion and guide.
Wachholtz, Amy and Usha Sambamoorthi. National Trends in Prayer Use as a Coping Mechanism for Health. research thesis. Massachusetts: American Psychological Association, 2011.
“Life of Pi”: an extraordinary story
Life of Pi is a story of the survival of the Indian boy “Pi” at sea for 277days. He has been raised up with Hindu religion, and then later he discovered Christianity and Islam. The believability of God is one of themes in Life of Pi. Pi practices three religions at once he pursues studying religion and zoology in university and respects atheists because they take a leap of faith, he dislikes agnostics because they truly never fit. The believability of the presence of god is seen majorly in the third part of the novel when Pi is interrogated and he narrates two stories. One with animals, the other with humans and then asks the question which is more believable. The other majorly dominant theme is the part two of the book, survival at sea. Yann Martel uses his two major themes religion and survival to make his stories and the believability of his stories. Orange – Hindu colour, the boat the life jackets and the tiger were all orange. How did this give him the hope?
In the story of pi we can see that Hinduism is the first religion where he raised up. Orange is the major colour of Hinduism as its symbol. In Hindu flag there is a wheel in the centre of flag. Which is also called Hindu chakra. This chakra are said to be force centre form a point of the body and this is also connected to water, identity of emotional and ability to accept and change(genders).The colour orange as represent in 2nd of Hindu chakra which represent water. It give them to movement come out of shelters and create(chakras).In the novel of life of pi water is also represented by 2nd chakra can related to the whole story.“My God! The Tsimtsum has sunk!” His survival in the Pacific Ocean with the animals after the sinking of their ship named Tsimtsum. (Martel 113). The colour orange represent survival and also Hindu chakra play very main role for Piscine Patel in his survival while he is in the life boat with the animals in the centre of Pacific Ocean.
Only Richard pacer, as is only hope to survive when you lost everything even his family in the ship wreck. The only thing is, he had a good quantity was a believability of god. There were only animals in life boat. Then he tried to spend his time with animals as a family but soon he realized they were wild and could not be part of family members The holy book of Christianity is Bible. It is mixture of Quran. But Bible comes to only one meaning love. In the age of fourteen pi went to family trip to munnar, which is located in south India, a hill station for tea plantations, wild, forest and valley. Lord Krishna led him to Jesus Christ. In the first morning of munnar he saw 3 hills in every hill there was a temple. In one hill there is mosque second hill there is crunch and in third there is Hindu temple. Pi never had been inside a crunch. He wants to go inside a crunch. Pi like any other child of his age has very interest and curios. Therefore when he went first day and something which he does not understand. He goes second day to discover that.pi finally reaches that there is no answer and there is no stories and the entire stories link to one message which is love. Similar Islam has many stories in its Quran of sacrifice and love, just like chiristanity.in the novel pi tell how he come to this religion when he is exploring his home he come to Muslim street and he found a bread of piece on floor. He picks it up and tries to taste it when there is no body on street. as he pick it he listen one call from his who introduced him Mr. Kumar and he lads to his bakery to show him to make them.
During the time of prayers. When pi saw Mr. Kumar to prying he becomes very curiosity to know about Muslim religions. And everyday he asked Mr. Kumar to teach him about Muslim prayer. When Mr. Kumar taught about Muslim. He really like that and he become fan of Muslim prayer. Pi request his father that he want pray like Christian but in Muslim rug. Father refused pi request and told them this is childish. in the novel life of pi Richard parker is the one who stranded on the lifeboat with pi when the ship sinks. Richard parker lived on the lifeboat just for pi. pi gives him hopes, food and water .Richard Parker develops a love relationship with pi and survive on lifeboat he needs food pi started to kill fishes and turtles for his survival but he had good relation with Richard parker before he eats, he always asks Richard parker first. When pi almost find his land. He has landed in México and he was greeted by two local Japanese who asked him to introduced him and what really happened to ship, Pi told stories with animals, how wild animals kill each other and survive but the two Japanese reject to believe because it seemed unbelievable but after pi tell them the second story which includes humans. This story is similar to the one he told them before. the Japanese people leave him cause they do not get any thing from pi how their ship sank. Pi ask them which of story they believe they told pi that they believe in first rather than second because it is less hurtful and horrible. After that pi said to them that this story is belong to god. because very religious has it own stories he telling his the story because he find the truth what happen to him that makes belief in love of God clear by practicing three religious: islam, hindu and Christian and every religion has its own stories and that is the backbone of religion. In conclusion the yann martel make person to see animals in another way, as human rather than seeing in useful way like vehicles.
Every one can live with animal’s whole life they are also same like human being if you treated them like humans being. It is not necessary that love feeling is just for human. We can love wild animals and animals also love you if love them but people said that animals have no sense and they don’t know what is love. on other hand human have also no sense if a new born child grow on juggle it will also act like animal. In that same way if you teach them .in this novel Yann Martel tell us about pi who spent 227 days in life boat with animals. And also you can survive if you belief in god as pi survive 227 days in life boat without having any food and shelters. It show us that we can do anything if belief in god.