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.
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