Life of Pi

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"Life of Pi" is so compelling to read and yet so difficult to truly understand. As I keep looking through the themes of religion vs. animal, I get even more confused. What is the meaning behind the animal story if the human story is true? What is the meaning behind the human story if the animal story is true? I myself believe that the human story was true and that the animal story was his metaphor for his experiences, but I am yet to figure out what each symbol means in the novel's moral/theme. On another note, I have pieced together the animals in my "Puzzle for Understanding Life of Pi." There is significance as to why Pi (and/or Richard Parker) survived on the boat, while the others perished (hyena, frenchman, Pi's mother, etc.) Here it goes: The hyena represented manliness on one level. He also was a carnivore, which was the essence of his personality. He constantly let his killing instinct drive him. The hyena was described as disgusting and ugly. The Frenchman/French Cook was also male, and carnivorous, and disgusting. He devoured two human beings and ate practically everything he could get his hands on (like the hyena, again.) Like the hyena, he let his killing instincts drive him and rarely had a chance to pause and think about morals and his terrible behavior. This made him a very unliked man. Both Frenchman and hyena's fatal flaws were their uncontrolled carnivorous habits. Orange Juice was a female orangutan (vegetarian) who was known by Pi as a very motherly individual, having two children of her own. Her motherly personality and instincts made her non-violent in nature, observant of other's actions, and introverted, calm and quiet at times. Pi's mother, similarly, was vegetarian and non-violent. She had a religious background of Hinduism. Both mothers had their motherly aggressive moments, but their fatal flaw was their ultimate non-violence and weakness. They could win against their carnivorous counterparts morally, but not physically. The...
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