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Appearance Vs. Reality Was Piscine (Pi) Patel's Journey Across The Pacific Just Another Story, Or Was It The Truth?

1334 words - 5 pages

Most members of a society experience a tragic event; for example, the loss of a friend, loved one, etc. Yann Martel's novel Life of Pi tells the story of Piscine (Pi) Patel, an Indian boy named after a pool in France, who sets sail with his family towards Canada, with their father's collection of zoo animals. As soon their boat reached the open Pacific, it sank. Pi managed to get aboard a lifeboat where he was stranded for 227 days, with a wounded zebra, and orangutan, a hyena, and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. But the question is, did Pi Patel imagine the whole ordeal? Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD) can cause people to have a loss of time, place, or person orientation, or even an increased or decreased awareness of surroundings1. Did he imagine being aboard the life boat with a tiger named Richard Parker? Was the second story Pi told real? Or is this just a story for Pi to tell to get people to think twice about religion?Pi Patel seems to be suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or (PTSD). Over 600,000 Vietnam veterans suffer from PTSD1, because of the tragic and traumatic events they went through for the 16 years that the war lasted. After the ship Pi was on sunk, Pi started to imagine the animals on the lifeboat. What had happened was so terrifying to Pi that he imagined the whole experience or came up with characters to fill in roles of a story. People who experience traumatic events often try to avoid reminders about that event. Sometimes these people are aware of the fact that they are avoiding reminders, but in other instances survivors do not know that their actions are caused by a need to avoid reminders1. To further prove the point that Pi's subconscious is avoiding reminders, in chapter 90, page 269, right as Pi says:"...Farwell. Dear Father, dear Mother, dear Ravi, greetings. Your loving son and brother is coming to meet you. Not an hour has gone by that I haven't thought of you. The moment I see you will be the happiest of my life. And now I leave matters in the hands of God, who is love and whom I love."His subconscious creates yet another fictional character, another person stranded in another lifeboat. Pi at this particular moment in the novel, is blind, and conveniently enough, so is the other person; therefore neither one can see the other. This makes it difficult to believe that there was even another person there at all. Pi and this other character quickly strike up a conversation, only to be ended when the character Pi created comes onto his lifeboat and Pi imagines Richard Parker striking him down and eating him, erasing any evidence that he may have existed. Next when they (Pi and Richard) arrive in Mexico, Richard Parker ran off into the forest and disappeared forever from Pi's life. And when Pi was found there is no evidence that Richard Parker ever existed.In Pi's case, it is a very serious problem. Pi's subconscious created an event that would take his mind off the death of his...

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