16 December 2010
The Quest for the Meaning of Life
Yann Martel’s novel, Life of Pi, is an inspirational story of a young boy fighting for his life as a castaway with the company of a Bengal tiger. Through his religious beliefs and perseverance he is able to survive, but with great difficulty. In an allegorical sense, this story is brilliant. Pi recreates his story using animals to metaphorically represent the humans who were in his treacherous, archetypal journey because it appeals to everyone more than the frank and straightforward story. Attraction to this allegory proves the deeper point that life is meaningless without believing in the beauty and art of the quest at hand.
Pi’s quest begins by his family attempting to move to another country. This tragically ends when the ship he and his family are on sinks and he becomes a castaway. There are many obstacles during his experience as a castaway Pi must overcome. Of course there are the literal obstacles of Pi trying to find food. He goes to all lengths just to consume a little bit of precious nutrients. At one point he even eats the “heart liver and lungs” of a masked bobby bird, “swallowing (sic.) its eyes and tongue with a gulp of water” (232). He is also constantly thirsty, and the endless body of salty water around him is such an evil temptress. He lacks clothing, and therefore his body is literally deteriorating away. His mental state is also a very large obstacle. Pi is alone and lonely. Although being alone is hard to deal with, it is a choice. Being lonely is not a choice, but a circumstance that one in put in. Loneliness is very depressing on any human being including Pi. This could be the very reason why Pi created Richard Parker. Having just someone or something there to share the pain of being a castaway with makes surviving a little bit easier. Pi even says “he kept me from thinking too much about my family and my tragic circumstance” (164). This...