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A Freudian Examination Of Yann Martel’s Life Of Pi

2714 words - 11 pages

Melissa Gibson
Professor Proctor
ENC 1102
8 April 2014
A Freudian Examination of Yann Martel’s Life of Pi
A quick glance at Life of Pi and a reader may take away the idea that it is an easy read and a novel full of imagination, but take a Freudian view on the work and it transforms into a representation of the human psyche. Martel’s novel takes the reader on a journey with Pi as he struggles for his own survival. Pi experiences a breakdown of each component that makes up ones personality according to Freud throughout the novel. One by one id, ego and super ego both express a huge factor in Pi’s choices and emotions throughout his story. The readers are also introduced to an alternate ...view middle of the document...

Pi managed to stay on a lifeboat with a tiger that went by the name Richard Parker, the orangutan, Orange Juice, a zebra and a hyena. Only Richard Parker and Pi lasted on the life boat together as the others were killed off before long. Being lost at sea meant Pi had lost everything he had ever known; he lost his family, and questioned his beliefs and morals while trying to stay alive. After 227 days at sea Pi and Richard Parker make their way onto a beach in Mexico where they go their separate ways as Richard ventures into the jungle and Pi is rescued by locals. After being recovered Pi is questioned by two Japanese investigators who need to write a report on the events leading up to the ships sinking. Pi tells them the story but they do not believe him and demand for a more acceptable, believable story which he feeds to them. The animals aboard his lifeboat were swapped out and became actual members that were on the ship, the hyena is the cook, the orangutan is Pi’s mother, the zebra is an injured sailor, and Richard Parker is Pi. The reader is left to decide which version of the story is preferred as is the author hearing the story from Patel.
Civilization and Its Discontents written by Sigmund Freud(1856-1939) concentrates on the idea of psychoanalysis of people. In simpler terms Freud studies why people are the way they are starting from their personality all the way to their most savage state and how it all connects. It is important to focus and take in a clear meaning of specifically his views on id, ego and super ego. Freud goes into great depths explaining how the three interlay with one another even though they contrast.
Accordingly, Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents explains that he created the idea of there being three fundamental parts to the human psyche as discussed prior the id, ego, and the super ego. Each of these is visible in Life of Pi and becomes a crucial aspect when looking at the character Piscine Patel. According to Freud everyone is born with their id. It is the base of personality so to speak and makes it possible for a person’s needs to be met. The id is based solely off of pleasure and needs that must be met with no principles or negativity going against it. Freud makes it a point that babies rely on their id’s in order to develop, such as when they are hungry and let out a burst of screams no matter if it is at an inconvenient time or place. The id has no sense of morals or sense of reality and only cares to be satisfied without considering anything or anyone else. The id is responsible for the survival of an individual and keeps track of the intake of food, water and shelter. It is the brain at its most primitive state and also interacts with the ego and super ego cause much conflict.
In the novel Life of Pi the reader can identify where Pi’s id, ego, and super ego come out in clear view. As stated earlier id is the first developed, then ego and super ego being the last. In a way one can come to the...

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