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Exploring Yann Martel’s Life Of Pi

2027 words - 9 pages

In Yann Martel’s novel Life of Pi, Mr. Adirubasamy claims it is a story that will “make you believe in God” (X). However, that is only one understanding of the story. Pi’s incredible story simply offers an opportunity for the reader to interpret the story that they wish to accept as truth. Depending on which story the reader chooses, it determines whether they are ultimately willing to take a leap of faith and believe something that may be hard to accept as truth. In his review Gerald Cobb states “There are two distinct and quite different ways to understand the novels conclusion. Martel offers the choice of interpretation as a gift to the reader” (Cobb). There are multiple moments within ...view middle of the document...

” The beginning of Pi’s story, Part One, is the most believable part of the story. It is here that the reader sees Pi growing up in a seemingly believable childhood. Pi talks of innocent days where he states “I have nothing but the fondest memories of growing up in a zoo” (14). However, in Part two the reader’s belief in Pi’s tale is suspended and tested due to the bizarre nature of the events he describes.
In the beginning of Part Two, the reader finally learns that Richard Parker is actually a 450 pound Bengal Tiger when Pi is cast into the sea with him. Following this unexpected twist, the entirety of Part Two revolves around the fact that Pi is living in such close capacity with a dangerous animal, the idea of this being reality makes the reader question Pi’s story. Due to the fact Pi is on a life raft with a tiger he begins to develop a relationship with the tiger, something that is extremely hard for a reader to believe. However, it is through the reader’s knowledge of Pi’s zoo keeping background, they can sustain belief in Pi’s story and even though Pi’s back story is not exactly fact, it is enough to hold the reader’s belief in fiction. A review by Jean Smith states “Pi relies on earthbound lessons (including the danger of anthropomorphism) to survive 227 days of staring Richard Parker down”. Martel combines the believable aspect of Pi taming the tiger with the less believable aspect of living with such a dangerous animal to make the reader question their belief in Pi’s tale. In an article by Gregory Stephens he states “From the first page on, Martel’s story challenges the notion that a firm line can be drawn between fantasy and reality (fiction and objective facts).” Stephens makes a good point with this statement, Martel’s combination of believable and less believable events makes it harder for the reader to draw that definite line and to say ‘this is what is reality and this what is not reality’. By making it harder for the reader to distinguish truth from fiction in Pi’s story, Martel is challenging them to take that leap of faith for fiction.
Martel makes the story easy for the reader to relate to despite its unbelievable moments. He relies greatly on the way he presents the story to gain the belief of the reader. The relatable factor of the tale comes into play with the emotions that Pi is feeling during his time at sea. Events in the lives of the reader can easily be connected in context to Pi’s emotional story of struggle and survival. Pi is lost and though Martel is being literal in this aspect, the reader can read the story and connect to Pi’s emotions. There is a specific moment in which readers can connect to Pi’s feelings of despair in chapter 60 when Pi exclaims “I saw my suffering for what it was, finite and insignificant” (177). Even though they may not have ever been lost at sea themselves, it is common for humans to feel like their problems are only trivial, that they do not matter in the grand scheme of life....

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