Life of Pi: the Good Kind of Lie

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The Good Kind of Lie

Sometimes a lie is better than the truth. Now I’m not saying that you should lie to your parents about the dent on their car or lie to your friends about getting lucky with that girl last weekend, but every so often a situation comes along in which a small fabrication will better warrant the situation. In the novel Life of Pi, the author Yann Martel tells a fantastic story about a young boy at sea, trapped on a lifeboat with a 450lb Bengal tiger. During their journey, the unlikely castaways face an epic adventure of survival; crossing paths with such characters as a homicidal hyena, a motherly orangutan, a dead on arrival zebra, and a French blind cannibal. In the end the two find sanctuary after 227 days upon their arrival to the coast of Mexico. Now I know what you’re thinking. “This sounds pretty unbelievable”. Well you’re right to think so, but the truth in this case, is something you’re better off not knowing. The end of the novel brings about the knowledge that the animals in the story were in fact people and their grim deaths, including that of his mother, Pi had witnessed. Given the setting, this shouldn’t be seen as a lie, but rather as story telling. The act of story telling is a great thing. It can drum up adventure in the heart of the audience, make you feel a great deal of emotion for someone you’ve never met or isn’t even real, but to some it is a way to cope with an occurrence in which the truth is too terrible to deal with. We’ve always been taught never to lie and therefore it is an act that is seen as wrong be any means, however, given the right circumstances telling a lie, whether it be to yourself or to others, is the best possible way to avoid a traumatic experience of the past. Throughout the story Pi tells the more enjoyable version of his story, though the realization of this does not occur to the reader until the end of the novel. Through retrospection it is easy to see the fiction and the significance it holds....
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