Life of Pi Essay

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Calvin Rossouw
ELA 20-1

Truth - The Twisted Reality

“I'll believe it when I see it,” a wise man once said. Humans as a whole are eternally searching for truth, but in reality, truth is what you make it. Yann Martel allows us to further understand this concept through Life of Pi, which illustrates that truth can be fashioned through one's situation, one's perspective and one's desire for truth.

Out of the blocks first is situation. Different situations provoke different truths. Pi Patel leads a different childhood than most because of where he calls home. Pi lives in a zoo, always in contact with animals and forever in close proximity. This allows him to create strong bonds with animals, but he always needs to learn the cold hard truth of life at a zoo. His situation conjures up the mean truth that animals eat animals, not out of greed or gluttony, but necessity. Other children could not even dream of the gory horrors beset upon Pi's innocent eyes. It was, as he says, “enough to scare the living vegetarian daylights out of me.” If his situation were different, he would not have been subjected to these nightmarish killings. Pi's situation throughout the majority of his childhood is at the zoo, which alters what is true to him.

Closely related to situation is perspective. One's perspective defines what is true to them. A man who is pessimistic will see a different truth than an optimistic individual. The Japanese men, Mr. Okamoto and Mr. Chiba, interrogate Pi when he returns to land. They question him, looking only for straight, bland facts. But what they come across is far from what they expected. After hearing Pi's fantastic and unbelievable voyage they are stunned with disbelief. They assure Pi that, “We don't believe your story”. From their perspective Pi's story is simply impossible – lies and make-believe. Yet, from Pi's perspective he is spewing nothing but the truth. Mr. Okamoto and Mr. Chiba are not looking through the same lens as...
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