Literary Analysis Essay on Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Published: 2021-07-16
1034 words
4 pages
9 min to read
Sewanee University of the South
Type of paper: 
Book review
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Despite the numerous characters that are evident in the novel like Mr. Kumar among others, the context majors on the protagonist of the story Pi also known as Piscine Molitor Patel. Having been born in Pondicherry, India, Pi's peculiar name comes from an eminent swimming pool in the region of Paris. He has a character with the animals basing on the fact that his father was a zoo keeper. The presence of the wild animals plays a great role in nurturing Pi since he is seen to relate most of the events on the survival techniques of both human beings and animals. Besides this, Pi has a deep sense of religion as he is seen practicing Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity. Through religion, Pi receives important ideas on how one can survive even the deepest of depression likening the painful situations to the happenings in Gethsemane in the Bible. For instance, in Chapter one, he says, Sometimes I got my majors mixed up. A number of my fellow religious- studies students- muddled agnostics who didn't know which way was up, who were in the thrall of reason, that fool's gold for the bright- reminded me of the three-toed; and the three toed sloth, such a beautiful example of the miracle of life, reminded me of God. Additionally, it is through the relationship with the animals that Pi develops a strong belief towards the survival instinct. The presence of the animals in Pi's life makes him aware of the techniques like aggression, flight distances as well as the social hierarchy as means of surviving the dangers that lie in the open world. In this case, he develops faith as a character that drives him throughout his life and never lets it go even in the ordeal on the Pacific Ocean after the ship sinks leaving him as the only survivor. To him, the only way to surviving the impossible was to have courage and faith which are vital in vanquishing the impossible. For instance, after having woken up to find himself in a boat with a tiger, his courage, and determination to survive make him draw a boundary with urine to keep the animals away from him. In chapter 4, Pi says, "Don't we say theres no place like home? That's certainly what animals feel. Animals are territorial. That is the key to their minds." To him, the spirit of an animal is strong on the base that once a boundary is made, crossing it implied trouble and maybe death.

Life of Pi is a novel that revolves around the Indian boy whose life revolves around different themes like survival, faith among others from the context. However, Pi's adventures and escapades are clearer through the central theme of religion. Though having been raised from a Hindu family, Pi is willingly converted to Christianity and later on to Muslim. He has the urge to understand God by focusing on the three religions though the leaders argue on the exclusiveness of each faith. To him, religion yields faith and belief which he embraces in all his aspects of living. He argues with Mr.Chiba and Okamoto on religious matters where he tries proving the existence of God through the tale on one with animals and without. He answers them, "Thank you. And so it goes with God."(Martel 2002, p.317).Basing on this quote, Pi struggles to widen the perspective of his friends on the reality of life encompassing it to God in the sense that God indeed exists. Besides this fact of God existing, after the incident at sea, Pi gets his faith in God tested when he undergoes struggle to survive after the ship had sunk. To him, there is no way how he turns out to be the only survivor in the boat with a tiger, and thus to him, this is a miracle that comes from God himself. Though he feels his faith is on a test while in the boundary of the sea and the sky, Pi quickly gains his confidence back when his miracle of rescue arrives. It is evident in chapter one where he says, ".such a beautiful example of the miracle of life, reminded me of God." Basing on the quotations, we are clear to see how determined Pi is in trying to experience the full meaning of religion and faith as well as how well he gets to know God. His characters of innocence, honest and respectful can be attributed to the three religions that Pi practices since they all advocate for the need to live a life worthy in the eyes of the immortal being. For instance, Pi could not have survived in the boat with the presence of the colossal mammal if his experience with God could not have been real.

Life of Pi develops on literal styles that make it outstanding in the sense that it is worth a prize. Yann Martel is clear to blend both facts and fictions in bringing out the events in the novel within the meaning that the reader gets to link the two facts to comprehend the adventures. He employs the use of extraordinary escapades in getting us to comprehend much about the animal and how they can relate to us without any harm. For instance, in the process of developing the central theme of religion and faith, he creates a fiction story of Pi being present in the life boat with some animals. It is so astonishing that the animals do not harm Pi. He says, I will turn miracle into routine. The amazing will be seen every day." In this quote, Yann intends to make the unimaginable things seem possible, things that are only available in religion. Additionally, Yann is clear to align the events in the novel as they unfold. For instance, in the beginning, we are not sure of why the animals are vital only to realize later on that the valuable lessons Pi learned from the animals prepared him into acquiring survival techniques like boundary marking in the life boat. For instance, in chapter 4 where he says, "Animals are territorial. That is the key to their minds" (Martel, 2002).



Martel, Y., 2002. Life of pi. Canongate Books


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