The Life of Pi
The novel, The Life of Pi, by Yann Martel is a story that reflects how people develop their belief systems, and how they are challenged by their need to survive. This story, about a young boy living with a Bengal tiger for 227 days following a shipwreck was interesting to read because it made me think about my own belief systems, and times that I have thought of abandoning them, and why I chose not to. It also made me wonder to what extremes I would have to be pushed to abandon my beliefs and I how I would reconcile that in my mind if I survived and had to explain my actions. This story made me think of other true stories I have read about, where someone has to take extreme measures to survive, and how I would react in a similar situation if I were faced with death, or starvation. This thought of what it takes to survive had the biggest impact on me while reading Life of Pi. I felt the story was ultimately about one man’s faith, and how it helped him survive a tragic life event and live to tell the tale of how he coped with this difficult time in his life. Pi’s religious convictions and his time at his father’s zoo shaped who he was, and played a significant role in how he dealt with fear, loss hunger, trust, and loneliness. It made me realize what you have to put yourself through mentally and physically to be strong enough to survive the most impossible, tragic situations. Not only was Pi’s faith tested in his journey, but he also had to deal with losing his family at the age of 16. Pi did not foresee the tragedy that lie ahead, and took his freedom for granted. He lost his freedom when his ship sank and he was on a lifeboat for so many days. I particularly liked that Pi retained his idea of freedom by telling his story any way he liked, after his ordeal, and recreate himself anyway he wanted when telling his tale. Pi implies that you have to have faith to believe, and the story you choose to believe ultimately depends on your faith. Pi Patel was an interesting character with a mind of his own.
Pi grew up in Pondicherry India during the 1970’s where his father, Santosh Patel, ran a zoo. This is where Pi spent most of his time as a child, and describes the zoo as paradise. Pi discusses the zoo in great detail, and talks about the habits of the various zoo creatures. He remembers the exact time of day the lions roared, and describes knowing where to go to be entertained at various times of day in the zoo by the different animals rituals. The zoo occupies an important place in Pi’s memory. For Pi growing up in a zoo shaped his belief system, taught him about animal nature, and imbued in him many significant lessons about the meaning of freedom. Pi believes in the idea of helping animals survive by protecting them in captivity, and providing a life that is easy and carefree. The book spends a lot of time on the various aspects of Pi’s life on the zoo, and this plays an important role in setting the stage for what takes place later in the book when Pi create his own version of events by imagining the characters are zoo animals. Religion also plays an important role in the setting of the story, and the narrator describes the great religious diversity where he lives in India. Pi became a Buddhist, a Christian, and a Muslim even though everyone around him was highly against this. Pi’s parents were against his pursuit of multi religions, are very verbal about his in the story. The religious leaders also want him to pick and devote himself to one religion. Religion became very close to Pi, and he went to church Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; each day at a different church, in spite of their opposition, showing us that Pi was an independent thinker from early on, and setting the premise for the type of character he is, and what motivates him. Pi believes he can gain independence and freedom through religion. He compares being satisfied in your religion, to the zoo animal’s satisfaction...
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