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Exploring Truth In Life Of Pi, By Yann Martel

1136 words - 5 pages

When writing, authors need to think of their audience and involve an element of surprise. Authors use plot twists in their writing to help them accomplish surprising the audience, allowing them to keep their audience’s interest. Not only do plot twists help keep the audience’s attention, they also make the audience question their beliefs about what they think of the story. Authors can use this tool to advance their themes. Yann Martel uses a crazy plot twist in his book, the Life of Pi, to suggest to readers that truth is relative.

In the beginning of the Life of Pi, Yann Martel establishes his theme of truth being relative through the main character, Pi. When Pi was confronted about worshiping three different religions, he says, “Bapu Gandhi said, ‘All religions are true.’ I just want to love God” (69). In stating this, the audience is given a brief glimpse of Pi’s worldview. Additionally, when Pi is explaining how Atheists have their own views of truth, he says, “Atheists are my brothers and sisters of a different faith, and every word they speak speaks of faith” (28). He believes that even atheists are religious because they believe is that there is no God. Yann Martel is showing, through Pi’s words, that truth depends on a person’s beliefs. Further along in the story, Pi asks his mother for a Islam pray rug and a Christian baptism. His mother tells him if he going to be religious he can only practice one religion, not three. In response to his mother Pi asks her, “If there’s only one nation in the sky, shouldn’t all passports be valid for it?” (74). Pi response again shows Pi’s worldview; what religion people practice does not matter, but who they are worshipping is more important. What religion people believe to be true depends on the person who is deciding, allowing them to make their own choice.

Pi’s worldview is not only seen in the beginning of the novel. Yann Martel’s theme of truth being relative is again established when Pi experiences a shipwrecked. On the lifeboat, Pi continues to survive living with a bengal tiger, he survives after seeing the other animals on the boat kill each other, and he survives by eating fish even though he is a vegetarian. Inspite of all the suffering Pi is going through he still turns towards God. This is proved when Pi says, “I practised religious rituals that I adapted to the circumstances – solitary Masses without priests or consecrated Communion Hosts, darshans without murtis, and pujas with turtle meat for prasad, acts of devotion to Allah not knowing where Mecca was and getting my Arabic wrong. They brought me comfort, that is certain. But it was hard, oh, it was hard. Faith in God is an opening up, a letting go, a deep trust, a free act of love – but sometimes it was so hard to love. Sometimes my heart was sinking so fast with anger, desolation and weariness, I was afraid it would sink to the very bottom of the Pacific and I would not be able to lift it back up...The blackness...

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