A Heterogeneous mixture of science and religion ? A shipwreck ?
Immense love and support between man and tiger ?
Why you should read Life of Pi by Yann Martel ?
His daughter’s sweet, innocent, orange tabby cat and a ferocious, bloodthirsty full- sized tiger are both present in Pi Monitor Patel’s life in different stages. It sounds as if both resulted from isolated events; but the truth is they both take up a cause and effect nomenclature. In Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, Martel explores and gravities the reader to look at the different facets of things. He discusses the causal and controversial relationship between faith and fact, the relationship between zoo animals and their seemingly immoral environment, and how zoomorphism doesn’t only apply to animals. He is faced with a seemingly unfeasible situation in which he has to use every skill he has ever learned to survive and battle his depression. This story will not make everyone “believe in god” as mamaji (his uncle) describes it, but can provide a thought provoking spiritual journey that may inspire you to take the first step of the staircase in your life.
This book has a lifeboat-full of cleverly constructed allegories, along with a beautiful almost hymnal tone throughout the book that communicates a well thought out parable. Most of all, this book is a suspenseful roller coaster adventure for those who don’t question or digress the realism. Pi Monitor Patel’s blithe life is pixelated away after Tsum Tsim, a Japanese cargo ship in which his family was traveling on, and sinks. He is a 16 years old sole survivor and is alone in a single lifeboat with a hyena, zebra, orangutan, and a full-grown Bengal tiger. He has lost his family and throughout the book struggles to come to terms with it. This predicament sharply contrasts with his sunlit childhood. He grew up in Pondicherry, India, with a loving family: a brother, a mother, a father, and a playful uncle. His family owned a zoo and in turn fostered Pi’s sense of wonder and interest with animals. He later on, takes zoology on as a major in college; he discusses zoomorphism, social hierarchy, and animal’s behavior. This saves Pi’s life in more ways than one, in that he has apply all his knowledge to support the molecular change from observing a tiger to having to learn to live with one. He realizes that he needs this tiger- almost a symbiotically setup, Pi says, “because if he had died, I would be left alone with despair, a foe even more formidable than a tiger.” In his childhood, he was also a triple practicing disciple of Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam. His faith is tested while at sea, but he draws strength from each religion in different ways. On land, he discovered these faiths via different people and situations and sees the world with a renewed sense of wonder and hope. He uses each to his advantage and sanity.
Faith and fact, or science, are two opposing forces but join to captive readers to see the connection between them. In Pi’s childhood he has two people in life, both named Mr. Kumar, one a baker that exposes Pi to Islam, another that is his atheist science teacher. They both support different aspects of his life. They meet at the zoo and both view each facet of it in almost compatible ways, a zebra and its stripes. Pi, in college, takes up a double major in zoology and religion, and that is a result of his experiences.
This book also takes on a very complex perspective. There are two authors, the author of the whole book, and the author that is part of the story, which remains anonymous. The author search for a story land him in Pondicherry, India, with a man named Francis, which happens to be Pi’s uncle. He tells the author Pi’s story and meets with Pi at various times throughout the novel. The author’s observations are revealed throughout the novel and help the reader to distinguish how the events at sea had on an effect on Pi in his adult life. Adult Pi lives in Canada, with his wife, children and their pets – one of which is an orange tabby. It seems as though his life has returned to normalcy but yet he still has ‘nightmares of Richard parker tinged with love.’
This story at heart is a coming of age story, filtered with an enigma and tainted with a rekindled sense of faith. It is not for everyone, as it is also very plaintive and depressing at parts. For all the rigid realists out there, this book will challenge your mindset, and may tempt you to believe in what you cannot prove.
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