Life of Pi: The Importance of Storytelling
What is the importance of storytelling? What are stories for? In the novel Life of Pi, Yann Martel considers these questions as he writes about a boy who survived in a lifeboat with a Bengal Tiger. Martel elaborates on the theme of storytelling as a coping mechanism.
“That’s what fiction is about, isn’t it, the selective transforming of reality? The twisting of it to bring out its essence?” Martel writes this within the first few pages of the Life of Pi, and this idea is carried throughout the novel. He goes into vivid detail of an unbelievable story of Pi and Richard Parker stranded on a life boat together, however it is not until part three that the reader learns that the story they first think to be true is in fact a fictionalized version of an animal-less story. Pi twists the reality of the last 227 days to cope with what has happened to him since the sinking of Tsimtsum. It is a more efficient way for Yann Martel to bring out the essence of Pi’s story through fiction. Martel twists the reality of the humanistic story to bring about the animalistic essence of Pi in a better light, and in this better light Pi is able to deal with the tragedy and be able to move past it.
Pi also finds himself through religion or rather, three religions; Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism. He is guided by curiosity and through his fascination of God he learns many stories that guide his morals and actions throughout life. With this, Pi takes on many overwhelming issues and questions that he has to deal with. These religions use many variations of one Story to show other life lessons, and although the details contradict each other, Pi chooses to believe in their similar essence. In doing this, he is coping with and responding to his philosophical search. For example, when the three religious leaders meet, they begin to disagree. The Priest argues that Hinduism believes in multiple gods whereas his religion, Christianity, only...
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