Life of Pi

2 February 2017

Life of Pi Analytical Essay In the novel Life of Pi, Yann Martel uses the protagonist Pi to demonstrate how faith, ritual and one’s will to live save one from the barbaric and carnivorous reality. Pi Patel, lover of faith and various gods and their beliefs loses his family after a shipwreck and drifts on the Pacific Ocean with a zebra, hyena, orangutan and a tiger, Richard Parker each struggling in their own way to survive. Yann Martel uses the protagonist Pi to claim that one retains his or her survival will through writing.Martel includes the fact that Pi writes, “I die” as his pen runs dry because it symbolizes the break of his daily ritual. Pi unconsciously makes a ritual for himself daily to follow in order keep himself busy that he forgets the notion of time.

Pi is able to survive because he makes an effort to forget the amount of time that passes (242). The element of time symbolizes the Pi’s despair but as he slowly forgets the existence of time, he also forgets his desolated situation. Pi dedicates himself daily to working hard to not remember or think deeply about how much time has passed.If Pi were to think about the amount of time that has elapsed, he would remember his loss of family and friends making him once again look forward to death. By nature, animals including humans favor consistency and dislike change and disruptions in their ritual. Pi unconsciously conducts his own religious rituals within his daily routine and grants him continued faith in God to survive. But Pi’s religious rituals also each lack a requirement necessary for example his Mass lacks Communion and his darshan lacks murti.

Life of Pi Essay Example

As his routine gradually breaks apart, so does Pi’s confidence in sustaining life. The Communion and murti represents the disruption in Pi’s life but his routine of recording his everyday life at sea in his journal substitutes for the missing elements of his religious ritual and helps Pi sustain his will to survive. Daily writing in the journal led Pi to sustain his humanity while being isolated from society. Writing down his thoughts allows Pi to retain his last grasp on human society and it gives him a sense of hope.The journal keeps Pi from cannibalism and alleviates his loneliness but as journal entries stopped, Pi gradually began to lose his sense of humanity. Pi’s last entry in his journal, “I die” signified as the death of his humanity and “driven by the extremity of my [Pi’s] need and the madness to which it pushed me, I ate some of his flesh” (322). Due to Pi’s religion, he is a vegetarian and refuses to eat meat yet to survive, he abandons humanity.

Being at sea gradually forces Pi to lose memories of his life in society.Pi admits to his “madness” when he decides to eat human flesh. From the perspective of society, eating human flesh is judged as cannibalism and when Pi begins to accept the fact of eating human flesh, he has already begun to lose a part of his humanity. Writing in the journal allows Pi to retain the thinking of society including its norms such as the consuming of the same species is unjust and mentally insane. When Pi’s ink starts to run out, he is unable to continue writing and that ends his last form of connection to his previous life living on land.At this point of the novel, Pi acknowledges his decline of humanity and with it, degrades himself and his will to live when he eats human flesh. Judging himself with the eyes of society, Pi begins to waver in his faith to survive.

If Pi were able to continue his journal, Pi would not have mentally been driven to its end forcing Pi to give up humanity and slowly lose his will to survive. Pi’s last humane note, “I die” demonstrates how ritual, faith and humanity pushes one further and signified the beginning of a new hope.Martel portrays the significance of one’s will to live on a long voyage across the Pacific Ocean by challenging faiths and beliefs and questioning human’s sanity when driven to the extreme. Writing is a form of communication that is a vital part to society, Martel illustrates this point when Pi’s one and only form of communication is lost. Writing helps one organize their thoughts and is a part of oneself, also one’s connection to society. Society representing humanity and vice versa can be retained through writing in order to increases one’s will especially will for survival.

How to cite Life of Pi essay

Choose cite format:
Life of Pi. (2017, Feb 02). Retrieved August 4, 2021, from
A limited
time offer!
Save Time On Research and Writing. Hire a Professional to Get Your 100% Plagiarism Free Paper