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Life of Pi: Use of a Unreliable Narrator

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Life of Pi: Use of a Unreliable Narrator

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Cooper Turner
English Holland
8/22/12
“An unreliable narrator can draw you into his or her worldview and perhaps even make you take sides before a writer reveals a broader perspective, one that he/she has missed or omitted. Even if a story is written so you doubt the narrator from the beginning, an unreliable narrator is still the one taking you through the story, so you hang on to their words. Perhaps a certain dialogue or an event will uncover details the narrator does not realize and expose that as an unreliable narrator, their word can no longer be trusted”. (Jada Bradley). In the book Life of Pi, Pi reveals himself as an unreliable narrator.

Although Pi defines himself as an unpredictable narrator through the final events in the story, Pi gives hints of false information throughout the book. As a reader, you hang on to his words because he is the one taking you through the account of his epic journey. Pi in the final scene of the story after his journey across the Pacific, tells the Japanese Oceanic Authorities contradicting stories. “Pi: So, you didn`t like my story? Mr.Okamoto: No, we liked it very much. Didn’t we , Atsuro? We will remember it for a long, long time. Mr.Chiba: We will. [Silence] Mr.Okamoto: But for the purposes of our investigation, we would like to know what really happened. Pi: What really happened? Mr. Okamoto: Yes. Pi: So you want another story? Mr. Okamoto: Uhh…no. We would like to know what really happened.” Pi leads you to believe that he is only making up the second account to satisfy the two men`s disbelief in his first story. However, if you reexamine the book you find that the second report could actually be a true account. Now you see that there are two valid stories, and the reader must choose which story is accurate based on their own conclusions about Pi.

Throughout Pi`s journey there are doubtful events that hint at his unreliability as an narrator. These incidents...