English Honors Period 3
Life 0f Pi Essay
“The Use of Geography in Life of Pi”
Life of Pi by Yann Martel, follows the life of a young boy named Pi, who is marooned in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean after a shipwreck. He is only accompanied by a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena, and a brutal, barbarous Bengal tiger. Young Pi must confront the elements and live at the will of Mother Nature throughout the book as he tries to stay alive in the vast abyss of the Pacific Ocean. How to Read like a Professor, by Thomas Foster is a guide to unlocking the hidden truths in any work of literature. In Chapter 19, “Geography Matters”, Foster explains how geography can play a leading role in literature in shaping the plot, characters, tone, and theme. In Life of Pi, geography assumes a central role in Pi’s narrative. Geography in literature can suggest new ideas about life in general. Possibly one of the most confusing parts in Life of Pi is when Pi gets stranded on the Algae Island. The geography exposes hidden meanings concealed in the story. I believe the algae island represents what happens when humans turn away from God and focus more towards secularist ideals. Soon you will be eaten up by your own ego, (i.e. the tooth in the tree.) However, Pi finds his faith again. This is represented by the boat. The boat never abandons Pi, which symbolizes Christ’s never-ending forgiveness toward us. There is a lot of material in part one about Pi’s trials of growing up. For example Pi gets bullied as a child for his name and has uncertainty about his religious stance. Consequently, the setting of the sinking boat and Pi’s journey in the life raft can represent a young man’s journey from adolescence to adulthood. Pi hesitates before leaving his parents room before the ship sank, which represents the desire to become independent. However, when he leaves and the ship sinks, he is forced to face the harsh world alone. The large ship represents family unity. The...
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