Book Review : Life of Pi by Yann Martel

7 02 2012

Dear world,

I have just completed reading “Life of Pi” by Yann

Martel. It was such a well written book, every page took my breath away. Focusing on

the survival process of a
teenage boy on a lifeboat in the middle of

the pacific ocean, accompanied by an adult Bengal tiger, the story gave me a new perspective on religion, anim

al instincts, survival and the idea of ‘fact’.

In a previous post, I discussed the theme of religion, so I would rather not repeat myself. Click here to read that post and then return to this post for more.

I can wait 🙂

So with religion covered, what else I loved about the book was the clear demonstration on how the animal kingdom is driven by their animal instincts (which, I know is an obvious ‘duh’) but under extreme conditions, Man remains the only creature that can ensure the survival of all. After the Bengal tiger, named Richard Parker, devours a zebra, an orang-utan and a hyena, he relies on Pi, the Man on the life boat, for water and food. Despite Pi’s need to train the tiger to ensure the preservation of his own life, the relationship the two shared on their 227 day journey reiterated Man’s purpose on earth… or at least a plausible purpose.

Many religions have similar stories on the beginning of the world. The commonly used story would be that of Adam and Eve. Adam was made in God’s image  and was instructed to be the guardian over all the life that God had created on Earth. Now I am not a religious fanatic but I think there is some truth in this story.

Pi was able to catch fresh water by collecting rain using the equipment on the lifeboat and provide himself and Richard Parker (R.P.) with fresh water. Pi began to fish to feed himself and the hungry tiger. R.P. probably did not attack Pi for two reasons. Either he was well trained or he was aware that had he killed Pi, he source of fresh water and food would be gone as well.

So yes, Man is probably the only creature that can ensure the well being of all the other creatures on earth. So may be we should really consider taking better of the planet we all live on and not be selfish, egoistic monsters that believe we merely benefit from all around us.

There is another point I want to bring up about the book. Martel ends the book beautifully with Pi’s interview with Japanese ship-wreck experts. The smart young boy tells his remarkable story which reaches the Japanese men’s ears as pure fiction as it is simply too remarkable for him to live on a lifeboat with a tiger and survive to tell the tale of his 227 day journey to civilization. If you don’t mind, I would like to quote what Pi tells the men when they do not believe him:

“Isn’t telling about something- using words, English or Japanese-already something of an invention? Isn’t just looking upon the world already something of an invetion?… The world isn’t just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no? Doesn’t that make life a story?” 

I hope that my words- invention or not- made some difference in the pages of your story.

Wishing you many well written pages ahead,

Cheyenne

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