Free «Life of Pi» Essay Sample

To effectively conduct the research I tried to get the general idea of the overall existing literature related to the topic of research. The preliminary search step focussed on easy and first access to sources which enabled me to identify only knowledgeable sources. In the second step my primary focus was on the actual and in depth search of existing literature on the novel by evaluating only quality and relevant sources. I searched using on line journals, website and books to get an overview of the themes, motifs, novel's plot and its characters. To acquire more information, I had to research more in our university library.  The novel Life of PI narrates the life history of PI Patel. At the beginning of the novel the author of the book introduces the main character and immediately the author shifts into narrating the story to the reader without first and foremost telling the reader how the account will naturally come out if narrated in PI’s own individual voice.  The first pages of the book are extremely suspenseful, because the author as well as PI himself makes continuous references to different kind of tragic episodes which occurred in Pi’s life over the years without naming them. 

In story Pi describes the causes of his gloomy state of mind as well as how zoological and religious studies have helped him greatly to rebuild previous life. Though, the author of the story narrates the life of Pi, it in chapter two after the Tsimtsum sinks  and PI loses all his family relatives that the reader understands the actual source of  Pi, intense suffering over the years. This author keeps the reader too much in suspense as the story is narrated in the first pages of the book, making it to lose the real meaning of suspense in a story.   In the story Piscine Patel Molitor is actually the perceived by the author as the narrator of the story. In the first chapters of book the author presents Pi as graying, shy but later on the story the author portrays Pi as a strong man. The narrative devices used the author in entire book distances the actual truth from the reader.

The reader is left wondering about the story being narrated by Pi and on what pieces of information the reader should believe.  The effect of the story is intentional as one reads through the entire novel. Throughout, the narrative, the author presents the narrative story of Pi, in a disorganized manner.  The narrative story of Pi jumps back and forward as the reader reads through the novel, the author manages to trace clearly Pi’s developmental as well as maturation stages and its events. In the book Pi’s companion is Richard Parker, a royal 450 pound tiger as written by Ann (20). Compared to other novels where many animals speak as well as act like normal human beings, the author of the book presents Richard Parker in a different manner. In the novel the author of the book presents Richard Parker as a real and normal animal through its acts.  Using Richard Parker, the author symbolizes the animalistic instincts which Pi possesses.

The life of Pi by Yann Martel is a novel that narrates a fancy adventure with many hidden themes that rise in the course of the story. Martel narrates the life of Piscine Patel whom he nicknames Pi that is full of misadventures that he goes throughout the whole novel. Pi is young teenage from India whose guardian is a zookeeper. At the early stage of life, he practices three religions namely Hindu, Christian and Muslim. Martel highlights his early life with the routine interaction with animals, religion and family at large in the first part of the novel. Pi grows up in Pondicherry in India where he is acquainted with knowledge on both the religious views and on the literature where his interest on books is developed fully. Most of his time is spend at the family’s zoo where he freely interacts with swans, hippos, goats and bears where his skills and knowledge on animal theories and the relationship with human nature are developed and natured. However, there is panic on the participation into the three religions namely Christianity, Hinduism and Islam as the parents are not sure if it is the correct choice to embrace in his life. In his encounter with animals as a child, he highlights on the life of animals life both the wild and penned as he narrates the importance of keeping them content and controlled throughout in the encounter. In his notion, he argues the theory of anthropomorphosis on human emotion and character towards animals. He states that animals are creatures of habit and if all their wants are provided, they get satisfied and are always eager to repeat the process on daily basis. If the animals are upset at any moment, they will react negatively at any time on the keeper. Pi narrates to the audience on how the lion tamer manages to control the lion’s charges through presenting himself as the alpha male as he claims his supremacy and provides their wants in order for them to maintain the loyalty.

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The misadventure at the sea is the major focus of the novel as it highlights the vast adversity the young Pi undergoes while at the sea. It was after the family’s decision of migrating to Canada for new settlement. They carried with them most of the zoo animals that they planned of selling them upon arrival in Canada. In the process, the family boards a cargo ship leading to Canada. While on board, the ship sinks in the Pacific Ocean and Pi has to struggle for survival through floating until he reaches the Mexican shores as indicated by Yann, Martel. At the moment, there was only one life saving boat available that Pi uses in company of the other four survivors namely zebra, hyena, orangutan and the royal Bengal tiger that was weighing over 450 pounds. Among the animals on board, only tiger and Orangutan manages to survive with him. Pi and the four animals survived for 227 days while on the life saving boat before reaching the Mexican shores. The author brings to focus on the question of what it entails to alive and believe seen through the adventure of Pi from the childhood life throughout as he encounters the catastrophe at the sea and how he manages to survive. 

Response to Martel Novel

Martel novel on the life of Pi is a unique and striking narration on the life of Piscine Patel. Martel’s creativity is a key future that let me into selecting the novel as he narrates the story of a young Indian boy who spends his early life as a zookeeper as his father was a zookeeper in India. In the process, the boy develops many interests in to the animal life and works closely in protecting the animals. He learns the normal life of animals and develops the notion of how to handle and control animals both tamed and wild in the society. Piscine shortened his name to Pi after being teased by other fellow children in the society. Martel brings out numerous charming changes of which changing of the name was the first one. In most of the cases, the change goes beyond his power as seen through the initiative of venturing into studying three religions. The decision by the family to migrate to Canada was another issue that was beyond his control. Martel brings out the true image of decisions in life that are beyond of reach as seen through Pi’s life. The sequence of happens are clearly highlighted as Pi struggles for survival. In the struggle, the ship they board sinks while on transit and it is ironical that there is only one life saving boat that Pi must use to save himself and the four animals that survived from the ship. Martel’s wit is fascinating at the narration of the dehumanizing circumstances that Pi undergoes. Martel’s brings out clearly all the setting that revolves around the life of Pi from his childhood life in India to the sinking of the ship and how he is rescued at the Mexican shores. All this memories are vividly rendered in the minds of the readers as shown from Bayley &Toder in there response to the novel. The author’s creativity is seen clearly through the collection of the vivid information and how they are assembled in order to come up with the novel that is later read by many people who appreciates the work.


 The better story

The better story is the major theme of the book. According to pi’s explanation, the world is impacted by the reasoning of the people. People have revealed its significance according to the way they understand aspects associated with the world. PI explains that everything occurring in our life is a form of story and as individuals we can decide our own story. According to Yarns, he introduces the significance of the imaginative approach and asserts that imaginative stories are better in our lives. According to the book the reader is able to access whether pi’s life is a form of a fiction in real life basis or an imaginable form of life full of fictions. Therefore, PI describes men in Japan in two different stories: one is an inspirational story and the other is rough certainty type of a story. The Japanese men consider the better story and at long last accept it.

Science and religion

This is a major motif and a theme in the book; it explains the multiplicity of science and religions in cooperating understanding in individuals. PI’s Zoo describes the scientific relationship that has been developed between PI and the animals. The relationship between God and pi is marked through his developed religious philosophies, therefore the knowledge that is acquired in nature and science and religion is very important in surviving on the life boat. The inspiration of science and religion in PI developed as a result of his mentors the prophets, Mr. Kumar.  For instance in chapter 31 of Yann, Martel, there is a discussion that is developed after the two Mr. Kumar met in pi’s zoo where they relate a significance approach on the studies of animals and religious. When they ask PI about it, pi explains that understanding of science and religion are two aspects of understanding science and religion.

Religious syncretism

Religious syncretism is defined by PI, and he approaches on three basic components of religion, Hindu, Christians and Muslims. He concludes that they all believe in the existence of one God. Although he expresses, Hindu (Brahman) as a immeasurable spiritualities, Christians as related to Christ and Allah the God of Muslim, each of this religion believe in the existence of one God. Therefore according to PI explanation it is true to argue that a person can engage in a relationship with God despite of the form of religion. Although systems of belief of each religion can disagree with others, all what is required in an individual is faith. Just as the way pi accepts the aspects of science and religious, he still accepts the facts that the three religion worship God.


Territorial Dominance

It is evident from Martel’s text that apart from handling the boundless nature of sea, concern is also focused severity of boundaries, borders and demarcations. This is visible in the way Pi marks off his territory as compared to Richard Parker in their way of survival in the society. In the novel, animals are the territorial creatures as shown by Pi in his close relation with the animals in the zoo. Pi brings out the territorial aspect in the animals through the Dog family where the older ones guard their beddings from intruders within the zoo. From Parker, the tigers also portray the territorial aspect through marking their space within their niche as they establish absolute dominance within their area of operation (Castelli, Jean-Christophe, 50). The master Parker calls upon Pi to ascertain control over specific zones while on the lifeboat. The act of pouring his urine on the tarp in order to be able to allocate the boat’s portion on the life boat as his area of operation is Martel’s indication of Pi’s territorial establishment. Pi uses the whistle that he has on the boat to keep in touch with his master while at the sea. This shows his prowess of using the available space within his access to communicate to his master as he asks for assistance. The fact that the space on the lifeboat was limited as compared to its inhabitants, Pi’s capability of demarcating his own territory enables him to stay safely as he maintains a peaceful relation between him and the animals. Pi brings out the aspect of creating a peaceful setting that disavows any act of violent between the humans and animals nature.

Hunger and Thirst

Although the novel focuses much on the shipwrecked while in the sea, Pi's character focuses much on water and food. The irony in the novel is that the lifeboat the Pi and animals are held is all surrounded with salty water that is not suitable for human consumption and the presence of sea animals which pi is unable to catch.  This is evident by his struggle to pull either fish or turtle through the craft. According to Shmoob, 80, his creativity of concentrating on the collection of then fresh drinking water using solar stills is another evident of the thirst that he and the animals are facing.  This brings out the difference in Pi's life in the two distinct setting, at the sea and in India. While in Pondichery, India food is readily available and all the animals are fed in the zoo and they need not to struggle for the food. In contrast, while at the open sea Pi has to struggle in fending himself and the animals on board. Martel brings out sharp contrast on the modern life of Pi and his current life at the sea which is more primitive as he has to go against his preferences. The fact that he was a vegetarian makes him more reluctant on killing a sea animal for a meal. It is at this juncture that Pi develops confidence in eating fish as he imagines the presence of the fish in the market which provides the courage to eat it. 


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