In Yann Martel’s novel Life of Pi, he wants the reader to decipher whether his first story or his second story is real. The first story consists of the protagonist, Piscine Patel, being trapped on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger, Richard Parker, and many other animals from his father’s zoo after they were lost together at sea. In the second story, Piscine re-tells a different story with a chef, his mother, and a sailor, this was to give the Japanese investigators “a story that wont surprise them (you)” (Martel 302). Martel clearly wishes the reader to understand why “Pi” might have been more truthful in the one story rather than the other. He does this through different hints scattered throughout the novel. Martel never truly admits which story is true, but various occurrences throughout the novel make the actual story obvious depending on the readers perception.
Martel adds verisimilitude to the second story by having the Japanese investigators come to conclude “Mr.Patel, we don’t believe your story” (Martel 292) The Japanese investigators refused to believe that there is such island that he could have encountered on his journey, claiming there was no proof of a tiger living with Pi in the lifeboat, and by admitting that Pi had to look at his life in a new light to survive by himself on a lifeboat.
Pi states that the trees grew out of algae and that there was no soil on the island. On the contrary, there is no evidence that Pi had really encountered such a bizarre island on his travels. “The fabric of the island seemed to be an intricate, tightly webbed mass of tube-shaped seaweed” (Martel 257), yet in the very next line, Pi admits to himself that this is an imaginary island, as “I (he) thought”.
The trees that Pi saw were growing out of algae instead of soil. Scientifically, it is not...