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Life of Pi Important Elements To Think About/Know Life of Pi

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Motifs Belief and Imagination vs. Factuality Much of Martel’s novel deals with the concept of belief. In this situation belief does not necessarily mean faith, but recognition of a story as truth. Martel illustrates that everything is a story, both reality and religion. He suggests that it matters not which is believed as truth but that belief is present. Martel uses these three sub-motifs to further his point.

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Reality “In both stories the ship sinks, my entire family dies and I suffer…so tell me, since there is no factual difference to you and you can’t prove the question either way, which story do you prefer?” According to Martel reality is another form of a story, one that can be believed or rejected as with any other. Pi is forced to tell another tale, the supposed truth. Pi finds the Japanese men’s disbelief ridiculous.

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Beast Fable Pi’s journey on the lifeboat with the tiger can be interpreted as a beast fable. In these tales animals are used to illustrate morals. In this sense the allegory of the animals is apparent according to what each animal symbolizes.

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Symbolism All the animals represent different characteristics of the human condition Pi represents the spirituality Richard Parker represents animalistic necessity Orange Juice/Orangutan represents motherly instinct Hyena represents cowardice Zebra represents individuality

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Literary Form Point of View/Perspective Martel wrote Life of Pi in a frame narrative, story within a story. In the author’s note, the fictionalized author tells his own reasoning for recounting Pi’s life (italicized portions). Pi tells the story of his family and his experience in the Pacific.

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Tone There are three essential tones within the novel. 1.Beginning Naïve/ innocent- Pi, a child, seems innocent and full of life and energy as he explores the world and all that is in it. “Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it.”

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Tone cont’d 2.Pessimistic Pessimism/Fear- witnesses the death of his entire family/stranded on a lifeboat with a Bengal Tiger. In this section Pi is forced to grow up and take care of himself. Pi states “No! No! No! My suffering does matter. I want to live! I can’t help but mix my life with that of the universe. Life is a peephole, a single tiny entry onto a vastness—how can I not dwell on this brief, cramped view I have of things.” Pi is forced by the situation to face reality and witness the darker side of life.

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Tone cont’d 3.Reaffirming Reaffirmation towards life- despite the physical, mental, and emotional pain Pi has endured, he ends his journey as a man with a newfound respect for life. He understands “the process of life.” He acknowledges that the experiences during our lives create the real meaning of who we are.

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