Symbolism

Topics: Religion, Pacific Ocean, Science Pages: 7 (2335 words) Published: June 19, 2013
Humanity in Movie “Life of Pi”
—Conflict between human nature and death

Introduction

Pi whose father operates a zoo in India has his special attitudes towards beliefs and humanity because of his extraordinary environment in which he lived when he was a child. His parents decided to immigrate to Canada when he was only 17 years old while Pi had to break out with his first lover. On the ship to Canada, a rainstorm occurred and the ship sank. Nevertheless, Pi survived dramatically with an unexpected companion Richard Parker—a Bengal tiger, drifting on the Pacific Ocean. During the adventure with the tiger, he struggled to explore the true humanity when he faced death so closely. At last, he came back to the human society and understood himself in a better way.

1. The first story

2.1 The final result of the animals

In the movie “Life of Pi”, there are four animals—a hyena, a zebra with one broken leg, a female orangutan and a grown-up Bengal tiger—Richard Parker. In the first three days, the female orangutan was bitten to death by the hyena which ate the zebra when it was still alive. Then the Bengal tiger killed the hyena. As a result, Pi had to live with the tiger drifting on the Pacific Ocean.

2.2 The analysis of the symbols of animals

In the movie, there are obvious relations between animals and characters. At first, the zebra represented the sailor who’s a Chinese with one leg broken. Secondly, the hyena was the representation of the cook who is arrogant and the female orangutan was the mother of Pi. The most important character, the Bengal tiger—Richard parker, was Pi himself.

2.3 The potential meanings the animals contain

In the first place, the relations between the zebra and the Chinese sailor are obvious. The most significant common point is that both of them have a broken leg after the rainstorm. What’s more, the sailor who is a Buddhist is a vegetarian while the zebra eats grass only. Last but not the least, the common points in their nature is kindness and cowardice. Generally speaking, the zebra implies the Chinese sailor. Secondly, hyena is the representative of the cook who is bad-tempered. The nature of the hyena is aggressive and the cook is impolite towards the family of Pi. Hence, I conclude that the hyena implies the cook. Thirdly, the mother of Pi is the only female character appeared in the ship and the orangutan is female, which leads me to relate the female orangutan to the mother of Pi. Furthermore, the orangutan was bitten to death by the hyena in order to protect Pi. So, I believe the orangutan represents the mother of Pi. At last, let me explain the connection between Bengal tiger and Pi. Actually, the tiger was the inner self of Pi which reflects the nature of human beings—long for survival. Being away from the civilization, Pi got lost in the human nature and death. As a matter of fact, there were no animals at all in the adventure. All the animals are the symbols of the characters. In conclusion, Pi experienced a cruel journey on the Pacific Ocean instead of an amazing one. Then, the second story appeared.

2. The second story

3.4 The results of the character

The results of the characters are implied in the first story. The zebra was eaten by the hyena, which means the Chinese sailor was eaten by the cook. After the sailor was eaten up, the cook planned to kill Pi to eat him. At this time, Pi’s mother fought with the cook but was killed at last. That’s the reason why the female orangutan was bitten to death in the first story. It was the hatred and anger towards the cook that led to the outburst of Pi who killed the cook then. So, the appearance of the Bengal tiger—Richard Parker implied the split personality of Pi—one with sociality and the other with human nature. The name of the Bengal tiger—Richard Parker, comes from a ship accident occurred in 1884.① After the accident, three men and one servant survived....
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