Life of Pi Essay
Discuss the importance of believability in this novel. In Yann Martel’s surreal novel, ‘Life of Pi’, views the measure of how an individual uses their intrinsic knowledge to face up to life’s riveting challenges. Martel portrays the protagonist, Pi Patel, as an individual who explores his own intrinsic identity through imagination, religion & faith as well as the fundamental difference between fact and fiction. Throughout the text, Martel, attempts to question the readers understanding of believability and how we construct reality through the unconventional structure shaped by Yann Martel.
Evidently, discussing the importance of fulfilment in faith as well as the importance of truth in our everyday lives, through the eyes of Pi Patel. Martel begins the novel through a fictitious author’s note. The author begins by explaining “this book was born as I was hungry”. Not literally hungry, but keen to write a novel of importance to someone. Even though its only six pages long, it gives a great insight on how Martel came about the story of Pi.
The author’s note blurs the boundary between fact and fiction, stating that ‘fiction’ is the ‘selective transformation of reality. ’ Martel intends to do this, to suspend our belief and invest in ourselves more fully in the story we are about to read. Martel’s author’s note also creates an imaginary scenario to delight and entice the readers by laying the foundation for the novel’s central theme: storytelling, so that we do not “sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality” or “end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams.
The author searches for different ways to challenge the reader’s beliefs through the connection of storytelling and religion. As he portrays religion as if ‘fiction is an escape hatch’ or a gentler version of the truth, stating that ‘religion is a lifeboat’ that keeps us afloat ‘in the face of our own mortality’. Through Pi, he aims to compare the stories discovered within each religion: Christianity, Islam & Hinduism and question the readers understanding of God and how he is ‘hard to believe’.
Pi loves the stories within each religion as they ‘sustain’ him to always look for more stories told in Hinduism, Christianity and Islam as they’re all enjoyable than the ‘dry, yeastless factuality’ in everyday life. Pi as well finds atheism and science as great stories since followers in these ways have something to believe in, compared to those who choose ‘doubt as a philosophy of life. ’ Martel creates a sense of feeling to the audience that agnostics who cannot make a ‘leap of faith’ in either direction are like readers who cannot appreciate the non-literal truth a fictional story might provide.
As fiction helps us get closer get closer to grasping universal truths and the significance of religion within Martel’s novel is just like that of fiction: both use metaphor, allusion and hyperbole to help us understand and live with the realities of human existence. Martel creates unimaginable elements to stretch the readers’ belief, to the point in which he forces us to construct our own form of reality. He illustrates that one story can signify hope and determination to survive and the other story presents a dark tragedy in its own sense.
Through storytelling, Martel creates the character of Richard Parker, who to the audience at first is a ferocious, violent ‘450 pound’ Bengal tiger. Ironically, the presence of Richard Parker gave Pi a reason to fight on and proceed to the finish line with the achievement of beating what to most was the inevitable thought of dying alone in the Pacific Ocean. Since ‘only fear could defeat life” Pi managed to persevere and overcame the fear of Richard Parker to be one of the “very few castaways to have survived” such a long period of time in the sea “in the company of an adult Bengal tiger.
Martel makes it clear though the eyes of Pi, that having Richard Parker on the lifeboat alongside with Pi, represents the image that living creatures will do extraordinary, unexpected and sometimes heroic things just to live life. As well as making it clear to the readers’, that, ‘because the three have never come together’ in our ‘narrow, limited experience’ that there is no reason to believe that Richard Parker was aboard during Pi’s voyage at sea.
Throughout the erratic motions of the ocean’s currents, the Algae Island is the pinnacle moment of the novel of when Martel makes the attempt to blend realism and disbelief, as “there will be many who disbelieve the following episode”. Martel adds this anomalously bizarre element in the novel to challenge the readers’ thoughts and also the Japanese officials; Mr Chiba and Mr Okamoto. When Pi recounts his story to the Japanese officials, they begin to have doubts over the exact moment in which the readers are stretched to their beliefs about the inconceivable Algae Island and the “carnivorous trees” and how “they don’t exist.
Pi however states to the officials, that you want ‘a story that won’t surprise you. ’ Stories that won’t make you see ‘higher or further or differently. ’ At this vivacious point of the novel, Martel symbolises this moment as the “leap of faith” in which he challenges the Japanese interrogators beliefs as well as the readers about ‘words that reflect reality’ and ‘words that do not contradict reality. ’ And that the human capacity for imagination and invention is a mechanism for self-preservation.
Martel structures the novel with two dissections of truth: factual and emotional truth. However, we come to understand that this is a book about how we choose what to believe and how to come to with reality that is often more horrible than we can stand. Even though the ‘unparalleled’ story with the Bengal tiger, Algae Island & the blind Frenchman is farfetched through the readers’ imagination, nevertheless, it’s more engaging and somewhat more charming.
In comparison to the version with the cannibalistic cook and death of his mother, that reveals the underlying ferocity of what human nature can truly be. By taking the ‘essence of factuality’, Martel crafts a novel that adds a sense of optimism and assists the readers to grasp on the importance of believability through the use of: storytelling, religion and faith and the central theme of novel of dissimilarity between fact and fiction. Tj.