Research Paper on the Life of Pi

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Boston College
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Research paper
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Yann Martel writes the life of Pi, is a story of a young boy, a lifeboat, a tiger and a vast ocean. It delivers a fantastic tale of survival amongst profound story telling. It starts with an author's note of how he came to write the story. The Martel adds at the end of his author note: "It seemed natural that Mr. Patel's story is told in the first-person point of view through his own eyes but any inaccuracies are mine" (Martel XI). In the beginning, the story explores Pi's advanced age, where he explained he had suffered intensely. And found solace in religion and zoology, he describes his earlier age with him family and how his father's business associate and a competitive swimming champion, Adirubasamy, taught him to swim and bestowed upon him his unusual name. Pi is named after Piscine Molitor, a Parisian swimming club with two pools that Adirubasamy used to frequent. Pi's father owned a zoo teaching Pi and his brother, Ravi, the delicate nature of animals by feeding a live goat to the tiger before their eyes. Pi was brought up as a Hindu he discovered Christianity than Islam, choosing to practice them all simultaneously. The family decided to move to Canada with a cargo ship on June 21, 1977.

Part two begins at the sinking of the ship. Pi later finds himself in the lifeboat with a zebra, an orangutan, and a hyena, all seemingly in shock, His family gone. The hyena kills the injured zebra and the orangutan and then to Pi's great surprise, Richard Parker reveals himself then kills the hyena. The rest of part two of the story revolves around Pi's and Richard Parker's struggle to accommodate each other and survive in the vast, cruel ocean. Pi subsists on can water, and filtered seawater, emergency rations, and freshly caught sea life. He also provides for the tiger, which he master and trains. The boat lands on an island which Pi leaves shortly after a conclusion that the island eats people. They head back to the sea, finally washing ashore on a Mexican beach. Richard Parker runs off, and villagers take Pi to a hospital.

Part three narrates about the two Japanese Ministry of Transport officials interviewing Pi about his time at sea, hoping to shed light on the fate of the doomed ship. Pi tells them a story as above, but it doesn't satisfy the suspicious men. He retells it again, this time replacing the animals with humans: a ravenous cook instead of a hyena, a sailor instead of a zebra, and his mother instead of the orangutan. The second story is far likelier. In concluding their Final report, they commend Pi for living so long with an adult tiger.

The issues of love are vivid in part one where Pi had a girlfriend who he had to say goodbye to where his family decided to relocate to Canada. Also, his love for his family where he was watching the sheep disappear in the horizon amidst the intense storms that strongly swayed him off to the lifeboat. This also appears in his love for Richard Parker he cared for him in the boat and that period in the when he was leaving the island and decided to wait for the tiger despite their constant wrangles. When Richard left him in the Mexican beach without saying goodbye he sobbed uncontrollably for the loss of his friend, there is an instance when he saw the ship wreckage in the middle of the sea; he felt so much pain for losing his family. Pi was born a Hindu, but he is an impressive kid he finds s much to be admired in many different religions and decides to become members of three prominent ones. Thus disturbs his parents and leaders of each church he attends, but Pi finds elements that are wonderful in each them the joins Christian faith, the Muslim faith, and the Hindu religion. In ever one, he likes different aspects of it. For instance it in Christianity, it was Jesus. Pi's father told him that "some eat meat some eat vegetables, I don't expect all of us to each about everything but I would rather have you believe in something I don't agree with than to accept everything blindly and that begins with thinking rationally."

There are different levels of meaning in the "life of Pi." In the text there are meaning in the text, there is a meaning that lies on the surface, and that is the general sense that most leaders understand, the life of Pi and his struggle to survive the rough ocean with a tiger. The other is the deeper meaning where the author uses language that develops imagery or connotations, the layers of meaning are created by the use of literary devices which is mostly metaphors and symbols. The author has drawn up the kind of emotion that helped create strong themes or messages.

The author catches my attention by how he uses metaphors to symbolize various occasions in the story and therefore manipulates my emotions to fit in the shoes of Pi in who we see the story from his point of view. Inside the lifeboat was Pi, (Tiger), his mother (orangutan), the injured sailor (zebra) and the cook (hyena). All these characters represented different emotions and personalities. For instance, his mother showed a need to rise above animalistic traits, love and affection towards her loved ones. The injured Chinese sailor represented fear and desperation, the cook represented violence, selfishness, and credulity, and final Pi represented the evil that is inherent in the heart of men. Pi said that the cook was a very evil man he brought out the evil in him.

Fighting for survival in the lifeboat was very critical, the cook killed the injured sailor and the killed Pi's mother, out of the blues Richard Parker emerged from nowhere and out of anger killed the hyena. We don't see Richard Parker until Pi goes to attack the hyena after the orangutan is killed at that time Pi decide to kill out of hatred Parker appears because hatred and evil appear in Pi for the first time. This symbolizes the humanity Pi had at the beginning but when the cook killed the other a kind of anger evolved from him that lead to him was becoming a monster and killing the hyena. Richard Parker reveals the struggles going on within Pi himself to deal with the evil that had risen inside him. The evil almost consumed him several times just as also did Parker. The way Pi deals with Parker is the same way people try to deal with hatred in their heart. He tried ignoring him, but it failed, he sought to drown him in the sea, but finally, at night he helped him back into the boat. He tried to make friends with Parker, but Parker couldn't take any of it. Finally, he decided to train Parker to some extent how they can live together, and the uneasy truce was broken between then. If a person goes through an ordeal, they often come out on the other end with hatred.

Pi expressed that his fear of Parker kept him alert, tending to his needs gave him purpose, but hate doesn't go away once the problem has gone it stayed with him. When it doesn't have anything external to feed on it turns on its creator, if someone lives with hate for a long time it can become like a comfort you tend to need. Their uneasy truce eventually transformed into a need where Pi place /parkers head in his lap. When the storm thrust the boat they boat aligned themselves side by side; they had resigned to death.

They finally found a floating island that moves with the sea just as the lifeboat does he said that the lifeboat was a carnivore means that the island was the boat in that if he continues to stay there, he will eventually die just as the island was a carnivore. Pi decided that if he stays there, he going to die, the moment he chooses to leave the island to the sea again is the pivotal moment in which in his battle with his hate over what he went through. He made the decision to brave the uncertainties of the sea rather than being trapped in a cycle of anger. That why from the moment of Pi leaving the island to landing in Mexican beach we don't see much of Parker, he is there, but he is not dominating Pi as previously was. This is because when Pi chooses life over hatred, he won that battle. Hate wasn't making his choices for him, and he had won the fight against his evil at that time, the only thing that was left is for him to let him go. This was on the beach as Richard Parker left Pi and walking away Pi was watching hoping that he will look back, but he doesn't when he is gone Pi sobs like a child. It not easy to conquer hatred, it's even harder to let it go. We have to let It go if we don't we are not living, but we are dead.

It relation to the belief in God comes when we see the older Pi doesn't look like a man who has gone through all those ordeals, watched him mother killed. Killed a man with a knife, had to cannibalize to survive, he doesn't look like a man who was previously filled with anger but instead he looks calm, happy. He has a life a family, and he is living he is not just surviving.

The movie poses the belief in God, it doesn't mean that we will not go through difficulties of having hatred, but the believe it we will not let the hatred/evil consume us, preventing you from becoming that evil yourself. Pi expresses that to the writer at the end asking the writer which story he prefers, the part where he suffers evil or the part where he conquers the evil by not becoming it choosing life over hate. The writer says the one with the tiger, and Pi tells him "so it is with God." Meaning that how God is, meaning he doesn't create the evil but he gives us strength to overcome the scourge.

The survival manual that pie had is full of metaphors, it's full of well-meaning advice, but his situation is not quite so clean so cut. It is easy to have high set values and principal when we are in a safer place, but life is not often so accommodating. Problems in life don't fit neatly into categories, rules, and guidelines that sound good but then crumble under real world hardships, the rules are good, but the can only take us half way. Pi says that "after all you cannot know the strength of your faith if it is not being tested." Pi's survival rules are ripped off his hands by the storm, at the beginning of the story, Pi's religious beliefs were just theoretical, but later we see him in the middle of the ocean thanking God for his life. At the island, Pi had lost all his hopes and the meaning of life that why we see him take off the blast, he was given by his girlfriend, showing that his heart is now tied for this place.

Most talked about in this story among critics usually is that of belief versus atheism. Pi's father is a good example of how atheist view religion, religion exists as a result of men desire to try and make sense of the chaos around, all the religions and the idea of God is man's emotions reflecting back at us, trying to make sense of things. The other side would say religion is the inbuilt desire in us to find a higher power, to prove that we are creations of God. The story sets the records right since our main character Pi's name means an endless number, perhaps which was to say that this question would be debated. People will always disagree on either argument, but Pi's father put it best when he said, "some people eat meat, some eat vegetables. I don't expect all of us to eat about everything but I would rather have you believe in something I don't agree with than to accept everything blindly and that begins with thinking rationally". If people's beliefs come from where they have given a serious thought, then I respect it even if I don't agree with it because all of us has both a heart and a brain. A person who uses both in deciding what they believe regardless what they choose is in a way better position that the one who doesn't choose anything. That was the point of the life of Pi.

The other issue that the story brings is the relationship between religion and science Pi's father says that in a few hundred years science has taken us far in an understanding of the universe that religion ha...

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