Life of Pi Essay

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Yann Martel's novel Life of Pi is the story of Piscine Molitor Patel, also known as Pi, who at the age of sixteen survived for 227 days on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean. The boat consisted of a hyena, an orang-utan, a zebra, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker; later on the true story is revealed which is without any animals. Early in the novel the reader is told that this story will convince one to believe in God, each of the two different versions are a metaphor to understanding religion, and by choosing which to believe it is choosing how one would view religion. Martel uses the theme of storytelling in a powerful way; he connects his two stories to religion and faith, and allows the reader to choose for themselves which to believe.

Martel uses the story consisting of the animals to represent the religious aspects of the events. The reader wants to believe that the animal story happened, as would a religious person from any faith believe in one's religious text. When choosing the animal story as the preferred one it is putting faith in the will for Pi to survive: "Mr. Okamoto: 'Yes. The story with animals is the better story.' Pi Patel: 'Thank you. And so it goes with God'" (Martel 352). Pi hints that believing the story with animals is ultimately like believing in God like mentioned in the beginning of the novel. Though convincing the reader to believe in God from this novel is unreasonable to some, the importance of faith is clear.

The real story represents the atheistic standpoint. An atheist is a person who is aware of religion but chooses not to believe in it; an atheist thinks that "a little scientific knowledge will expose religion as superstitious bosh" (30). The truth in this story is that there were no animals in the boat, in reality each animal symbolized a human. To be truly athiest requires as much faith as to be religious, athiests cannot prove there is no god as religious folk cannot prove there is one. By choosing this...
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