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Life of Pi is a novel telling the story of a teenage boy named ‘Pi’ and his survival through 227 days living in a lifeboat with a male, adult Bengal Tiger named Richard Parker in the Pacific Ocean. Pi’s original home is in India where his family owns a zoo and so Pi has always grown up around animals and feels extremely comfortable when he is accompanied by an animal of any breed or size. During his teenage years his family makes the decision to move to Canada and sell all of the animals that the family has always known and loved. During the voyage by ship to Canada, the ship carrying the family and the animals comes into contact with a severe storm which causes the ship to sink. This leaves Pi, an orangutan, hyena, a zebra, and a tiger, stranded on a life raft in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. After many brawls and difficulties, only Pi and the tiger named Richard Parker remain on the raft. The pair make it through many difficulties and dangers that come about while on the raft to eventually, after months of being stranded in the middle of the ocean, find a small island where the only life on the island is meerkats. Richard Parker vanishes into the forest and was never to be seen again. Sometime later Pi washes up on a beach in Mexico and is rescued by 2 of the locals. Pi then is interviewed by 2 Police staff who does not believe the story that Pi has told them. Life of Pi is a story of self-belief and faith, as well as religion.
This novel life of Pi evolves strongly around the main character Pi’s (whose full name is Piscine Molitor Patel) mental state. Throughout the story, Pi is faced with many difficulties that may well have broken or disrupted him. However he has grown up around a very religious culture with Pi being brought up around 3 main religions, these being Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam. This has allowed Pi to grow up as a very strong willed character with a very strong personality and was never one to simply give up when this became tough. One example of this in the text is when Pi said, “You must take life the way it comes at you and make the best of it”. Because of this personality that Pi has developed, he was able to remain mentally strong and have belief in himself that he will be able to survive the difficult time at sea, without knowing when it will end or whether he will die at sea on the life raft. I personally believe that Pi’s mentality relates to that of mine. This is because I often try to get through things even if I think I may not be able to succeed in it. An example of this is when I gained an excellence in a P.E test we had at school. P.E is not usually where I succeed most at school but I remained positive and got through the challenge and ended up succeeding. Another aspect of the main character Pi that I can personally relate to is his love for animals. Throughout my life I have always had a love for animals and never liked to see them neglected or treated poorly, much the same as Pi’s attitude towards animals.
Throughout the novel Life of Pi the setting becomes a very important part of the story. In the early stages of the book the characters live in a village in India. However as the book goes on, the main setting on the novel becomes the life raft in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where Pi and Richard Parker survive the 227 days out at sea stranded after their ship sinks. The narrator (Pi) often gets frustrated by the ocean as it is the one thing standing between his survival and death. Throughout the novel he speaks about the difficulties that the ocean brings such as large storms and tides, as well as sharks and other dangerous sea creatures surrounding him. Although he often talks about the negative aspects of the ocean surrounding him, Pi often talks about the beautiful aspects of this ocean that appears to be trying to kill him slowly. An example of this is on page ‘124’ where he talks about the beautiful sunset around him. The words he uses to describe this amazing sight is “The sun was beginning to pull the curtains on the day. It was a placid explosion of orange and red, a great chromatic symphony, a colour canvas of supernatural proportions, truly a splendid Pacific sunset” I personally find this interesting as he has such a strong hate for the ocean beneath him as it is slowly killing him with no chance of giving up, but at the same time views it as such a beautiful and magnificent masterpiece. I think that I could benefit from thinking more like Pi in real life situations such as focusing more on the good things in any situation rather than always thinking about the negative things that I can see.
As this text is written in first person it allows me to feel connected to the main character and feel the same emotions as them. The themes in this novel Life of Pi relate to many situations in life for people of all cultures and upbringings. There are many elements in this text that the author has deliberately added to make the reader think deeply about to truly understand, I believe that this is a good element of the text to add in as I enjoy books that allow me to think deeply and more creatively about.
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