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Yann Martel’s novel Life of Pi is the story of Piscine Molitor Patel, also known as Pi, who at the age of sixteen survived for 227 days on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean. The boat consisted of a hyena, an orang-utan, a zebra, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker; later on the true story is revealed which is without any animals. Early in the novel the reader is told that this story will convince one to believe in God, each of the two different versions are a metaphor to understanding religion, and by choosing which to believe it is choosing how one would view religion.
Martel uses the theme of storytelling in a powerful way; he connects his two stories to religion and faith, and allows the reader to choose for themselves which to believe. Martel uses the story consisting of the animals to represent the religious aspects of the events. The reader wants to believe that the animal story happened, as would a religious person from any faith believe in one’s religious text. When choosing the animal story as the preferred one it is putting faith in the will for Pi to survive: “Mr.
Okamoto: ‘Yes. The story with animals is the better story. ‘ Pi Patel: ‘Thank you. And so it goes with God'” (Martel 352). Pi hints that believing the story with animals is ultimately like believing in God like mentioned in the beginning of the novel. Though convincing the reader to believe in God from this novel is unreasonable to some, the importance of faith is clear. The real story represents the atheistic standpoint.
An atheist is a person who is aware of religion but chooses not to believe in it; an atheist thinks that “a little scientific knowledge will expose religion as superstitious bosh” (30). The truth in this story is that there were no animals in the boat, in reality each animal symbolized a human. To be truly athiest requires as much faith as to be religious, athiests cannot prove there is no god as religious folk cannot prove there is one. By choosing this story, the reader is going with reason and not looking past what seems impossible, much like an atheist not believing in a higher power.
Both stories are the same in the fact that the Tsimtsum sank, Pi lost his family and he went through tremendous suffering, and it is then left to the reader to decide which to believe: the animal or the real story. The two are just in a contrasting perspective, one being a beautiful tale and the other being the harsh reality: “The world isn’t just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no? Doesn’t that make life a story? ” (335).
How one person may see something could be completely different than another, so when telling a story each person has a varied way of percieving it. Religion is seen differently by various people and each individual has their own vision of God. Martel believes that life is a story, ultimately he is saying that life is beautiful with religion as is the animal story when compared to the opposing one. By using a metaphor for each of the two stories, Martel turns the question of: “Which is the better story? to, “do you believe in God? ” By the reader choosing the story with the animals as the more preferred story they are deciding that they believe in a God, or if they choose to believe the true story then that is choosing to be athiest. The theme of storytelling is closely tied with faith in this novel, and Yann Martel does an excellent job by allowing the reader to unintentionally choose for themselves which story to believe, and this ultimately answers the question of faith and the belief in God.
Author: Brandon Johnson
Life of Pi Essay
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Life Of Pi As A Story Of Life
The film first catches my eye by showing all different kinds of animals. The kinds of animals we can only see in zoos. Also, gardens full of magnificent flowers catch my eye. And the peaceful music the film is playing makes me think the film is going to stay that way. The Life of Pi tells an amazing story of life, loss and survival.
Pi Patel lives in Canada, but is from India. Pi has a reporter at his house asking about Pi’s incredible story of being on a life for 227 days. Pi grows up with his mother’s religion, which is Hinduism. Later, when Pi is around 12 he is introduced to Christianity then Islam. Pi follows all three religions but Pi’s father doesn’t like religion and says Pi cannot three religions at the same time. Also, Pi’s bother listens to his dad in the religion area.
When Pi is seventeen Pi’s father decides to sell the zoo his father owns and move to Canada. So, Pi’s father buys passage for Pi and his family. Also, Pi’s father bought passage for all the zoo animals so he can sell the animals in Canada. But on the trip to Canada a big unexpected storm comes and sinks the ship. Because Pi wanted to look at the storm he ends up being able to jump on a lifeboat. However, none of pi’s family made it on the lifeboat.
Pi is now trapped on a lifeboat with a zebra. During the storm, Pi throws a life persevere out into the ocean thinking he is saving a person. However, what Pi pulled in was an adult Bengal tiger. Also, pi has a monkey and a hyena on the lifeboat with him. Yet all the animals except the Bengal tiger die. Pi has very little food and water on the lifeboat. But Pi has to learn how to survive with nothing but a hungry and scared Bengal tiger. Somehow Pi survives the tragic loss of his family and being out on the open ocean for so long with no one.
“Ang Lee’s story of a boy marooned on the high seas makes for a fascinating parable about faith and determination” (Puig). I agree the film has things about faith and more determination then anyone can ever imagine. Yet, at times Pi doesn’t want to have to keep trying, Pi just wants to give up. But then, he finds it in himself to keep pushing on. Pi’s journey also tests his faith and strengths Pi’s faith.
The film Life of Pi has a lot of religious points. Pi grows up wanting to know more about religion, but the problem is Pi finds three different religions. Pi is following Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam; there is no way someone can follow three religions. Also, in Christianity you cannot follow any other religion because there is only one true God especially Islam. The two religions contradict each other, so I don’t understand how Pi can follow those two religions at the same time. Also, I don’t know much about Hinduism but you can’t
Pi has amazing determination to overcome and get through the challenges he faces. Pi survives in the ocean for 227 days with nothing but a Bengal tiger. Pi has no food or water and has a very hungry Bengal tiger. Also, Pi watched...
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