Opposing Ideas in Life of Pi

Topics: Yann Martel, Life of Pi, Canada Reads Pages: 2 (812 words) Published: January 4, 2013
Opposing Ideas in Life of Pi
In Yann Martel’s novel, Life of Pi, he explores how the human belief system can be mutated and misinterpreted due to different perspectives. The way Martel exposes a common faith is by incorporating opposites. Martel incorporates opposites throughout the novel to portray that what is believed to be different on the surface is actually the same underneath, as can be seen by the two Mr. Kumar’s, Pi and Richard Parker, and the two opposing stories. The reader is first exposed to two characters, and how their different identities end up revealing the same message underneath. The pair of opposites that the reader learns about is science versus religion in the two Mr. Kumar’s; one being Muslim and a poor baker and the other being an atheist who is a Biology teacher. These two characters have different views on life as can be seen when Pi takes them to see the zebras at the zoo. Due to their amazement of the zebra, they each reply differently: “Mr.Kumar said, ‘Equus burchelli beohmi.’ Mr.Kumar said, ‘Allahu akbar.’” (93). Albeit Martel does not state which Kumar is which, the reader can clearly distinguish between them due to their different statements. The atheist Biology teacher states the biological name of the zebra, while the Muslim baker praises God in amazement. This sentence proves that, although they both have different beliefs, both characters react in astonishment about the zebra. The second pair of opposites represents how two characters who are introduced separately are actually the same underneath; it is the human versus nature in Pi. In the beginning, Pi is viewed as an innocent vegetarian boy, but that quickly changes as the story unfolds. When Pi is put into the lifeboat with Richard Parker, the Bengal tiger, he responds with trepidation, becoming vicious and savage-like. Throughout the novel, Pi has a fickle attitude towards Richard Parker; it seems as if Pi has trepidation about the tiger and is in...
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