Friday, April 19th 2013
An Extraordinary Truth
For centuries, there have been countless stories that have been recorded and told. They have indulged and mystified audience members, listeners and readers all over the world. They have portrayed what it is to feel passion, fear, excitement and adventure. The authors of these stories are always discovering new and inventive ways to portray stories in a way that will entertain the audience because ultimately, it is the audience who is the inspiration for these creations. In the novel Life of Pi by Yann Martel, The main character, Pi Patel, becomes one of those many authors who indulges the audience by telling the story of how he managed to survive an astonishing 227 days out at sea in a lifeboat. In order to tell his extraordinary story, Pi uses elements of a factual and reasonable story, as well as a fictional and imaginative one. He blends both of these opposing elements together in order to portray the message of an extraordinary truth. In order for Pi to create his extraordinary truth, he used multiple examples of realistic and factual evidence in his story. Readers acknowledge the fact that he uses this factual evidence when he tells a second story at the end of the novel of the events that occurred. In the second telling of his story, Pi emphasizes point by point about what happened on the lifeboat that was not otherwise known in the first story. Primarily, the audience discovers that Pi was in fact in complete solitude for most of the 227 days at sea. He exclaims that “solitude began. I turned to God, I survived” (Martel 345). In his original telling of the story, Pi explains how an adult Bengal tiger named Richard Parker accompanies him. When it is discovered that he was in fact all alone and without this creature, it is extraordinary that he was able to continue to survive. This, in turn, would allow audience members to be entertained. However, there would still be a lack of imagination and eventful situations with only one person by themself. In addition, the second story contains realistic and horrifying elements of certain characters on the lifeboat. Pi describes the cook to have been “a disgusting man. His mouth had the discrimination of a garbage heap” (337). Pi described this cook character to have been a horrible person. This is shocking for the audience because in the first telling of his story, there are no people present, but rather, a hyena that creates a nesty character. Irony is then shown as the story progresses. Pi’s mother says to the cook, “You monster! You animal!” (342). This is ironic because Pi chooses to portray the cook’s character as an animal when he tells the first story. The readers are shocked that a man could behave in such a way and by hearing the original story first, the audience has a better appreciation for how Pi uses factual events in his seemingly fictional story. A final concept that Pi shows in his factual telling of his story at the end was the gruesome events that took place on the boat. The cook ends up killing Pi’s own mother right in front of him. Pi explains the situation by saying, “The knife appeared. He raised it in the air. It came down. Next it was up – it was red. It went up and down repeatedly” (343). This event must have been extremely horrifying for a boy to witness. This is an event that would strike Pi on a very personal level. In the first telling of the story, the hyena kills the orangutan. The orangutan represents Pi’s mother. It is interesting that in the first telling of the story, he has no real personal connection with the orangutan as much so as he would his mother. They both end up being brutally killed. However, in the second story, the event is more sad and horrific because of the fact that it is Pi’s mother being killed. This shows that Pi only uses the factual event at hand and decides to portray the characters in a different way. Facts allow the...
Bibliography: Martel, Yann. Life of Pi. New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2001.
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