Essay on Life of Pi

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Christophe Auber
Grade: 11

Life of Pi by Yann Martel tells the story of a sixteen year old religious boy, called Pi Patel, who survives in a boat for 227 days after a shipwreck. I believe this book deserves to win the Man Booker Prize not for the story it tells but for the thoughts it brings to our minds.

The first interesting idea that is brought up by this novel is the conflict between religions. In the book this is shown by the arguing of the priest, the monk, and the Muslim man over Pi’s religion. In the novel he is than forced to choose between Catholicism, Hinduism and Islam. In this exact moment, Pi explains that he just wants to love god, and that all three religions preach the same thing which is the love god. By doing this Yann Martel sends a message to that religion wars stop, which I believe is a good idea.

To add to this, towards the end of the novel, when Pi is in the hospital in Mexico, he is asked to tell what happened by two Japanese man working for the company who took care of the boat. These two men do not believe what Pi tells them so Pi replaces the animals in the story by people form the shipwreck. By doing this Yann Martel brings two thoughts/ possibilities to our minds: how our brains protect us from the truth by bending it (here replacing people by animals) and/ or how mankind can become wild like animals in such a way that they could be compared to ones.

Furthermore, the idea of mankind only believing what we want to believe is not only shown and explored in this book but also experienced after reading the book. In this book the two Japanese man who interrogate Pi once he is in the hospital didn’t believe the story with the animals since it did not make sense to them for their report, but in the end they admitted that they would like to believe it. To add to this, after reading the book the reader wants to believe and most the time manages to believe the animal story, since it is less violent and does not reflect the...
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