All religions provide believers with a creation story, rituals for daily life, and stories that illustrate, in an indirect way, the nature of human life. All fiction supplies us with characters, settings, and language that help us get closer and closer to grasping universal truths.
The significance of religion within Martel's novel is just like that of fiction: both use metaphor, simile, allusion, imagery, and hyperbole to help us understand and live with the realities of human existence
The quotation can also be considered in the context of Pi's second story, the one without animals, in which Pi himself is the tiger. Pi has chosen a tiger to represent himself because of its conflicting qualities: nobility and violence, grace and brute force, intelligence and instinct. In a way, these qualities are very human.
But on a day-to-day basisfor example, as we go to school, drive to the supermarket, and watch TV at nightthe elements of violence, brutality, and instinct are blunted. Instead of catching and killing fish, we purchase plastic-wrapped filets; rather than hunt animals for meat, we buy steaks at the deli counter
Stripped of these conveniences, Pi must return to nature and reassert his animal instincts. He must overcome his squeamishness in order to eat. He must embrace aggression in order to kill the cook who might otherwise have killed him. In crediting Richard Parker's existence for his own survival, Pi acknowledges that it is animal instinct,
not polite convention or modern convenience, that protects him from death.
explaining "without richard parker i wouldn't be alive today... [continues]
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