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Life of Pi: The Importance of Hope

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Jessie Park

on 14 January 2013

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Transcript of Life of Pi: The Importance of Hope

HOPE What gives you hope? Why is hope important? - Fantasy/adventure novel published in 2001
- A survival story of Pi Patel, an Indian boy from Pondicherry
- He survives 227 days on a life boat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker Brief Plot Summary Part One - Pi, as an adult, reminisces about his childhood
- His father owned a zoo in Pondicherry, where he gained a lot of knowledge about animal psychology - Although he was raised a Hindu, Pi also practices Christianity and Islam with a desire to understand each faith
- Deeply fascinated by religion: "I just want to love God" Part Two - Pi's family sells the zoo and boards a ship to immigrate to Canada
- A severe storm causes the ship to sink, killing his entire family
- Pi is alone on a life boat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan, Richard Parker, and very limited supplies
- Despite the many intense obstacles and inner turmoil, Pi manages to survive for 227 days until he is rescued on the coast of Mexico
- His faith plays a tremendous role in his survival
- "Solitude began. I turned to God. I survived" Part Three - During his recovery, two Japanese officials come to interview Pi
- They refuse to believe that his story with the animals is true
- Pi tells an alternate story - the same one, replacing the animals with a cook, a sailor, his mother, and himself
- Neither explains the sinking of the ship, but the officials say that they prefer the first story more
- Last line: "And so it goes with God" What allowed Pi to survive? What made him so determined to live? Why didn't he give up? Martel’s Life of Pi valuably demonstrates that in order to persevere through life’s most brutal obstacles, one must never abandon hope. 1: The hope that one finds through religion and faith during serious turmoil allows an individual to attain peace and purpose that is difficult to find elsewhere. - Religion played a big part in Pi’s life throughout his young adulthood, but it also served as a huge source of hope for him during the devastation after the shipwreck
- He prays and remains faithful to his faith
- “I was giving up. I would have given up – if a voice hadn't made itself heard in my heart. The voice said, ‘I will not die. I refuse it. I will make it through this nightmare. I will beat the odds, as great as they are. I have survived so far, miraculously. Now I will turn miracle into routine. The amazing will be seen every day. I will put in all the hard work necessary. Yes, so long as God is with me, I will not die. Amen.’” - His faith kept him at peace, hopeful, sane and determined to live 2: An individual’s desperate hope to return back to familiarity and loved ones is a huge virtue that allows one to endure through immense hardships. - While on the life boat, Pi reminisces about the life he left behind in India as he desperately wishes to return back to proper food, shelter, and the company of humans
- This gives Pi the hope to carry on as it encourages him to attain his normal life once again – little by little, step by step.
- Pi realizes that he doesn't want to give up because there is so much to return to, and this allows him to think rationally as he decides that survival is not an option, but a necessity - does what he needs to do to live.
- He says, “I had to stop hoping so much that a ship would rescue me. I should not count on outside help. Survival had to start with me…. Survival starts by paying attention to what is close at hand and immediate” 3: The post-traumatic healing from storytelling and one’s imagination, derived from one’s hope for emotional recuperation and inner peace, proves to be able to deliver one from the depths of despair. - Pi deeply hopes to recover emotionally and mentally from his traumatic past
- When the interviewers decide that they much rather prefer the story with the animals as opposed to the “real” story with the humans, Pi replies, “and so it goes with God”, as the story that embodies his faith and religion is accepted and more appreciated
- Pi’s story is a creation inspired by true events that led individuals to accept the magnificence of his faith– something that Pi really values.
- This is what finalizes Pi’s emotional and mental recovery Pi as an adult Psychoanalytic Criticism - Looks into the mental psyche of the author or major characters within a literary work to understand motives and reasons behind their thoughts and actions. How can Pi's behavior and thoughts be explained in terms of psychoanalytic concepts? - Son of a strict zookeeper, Pi grew up with discipline, obedience, and an understanding of the natural world engraved in his head
- These morals are what allowed him to think and act so rationally even in the seriously devastating times on the life boat - it also saved him from being eaten by Richard Parker on several occasions
- His expectation to survive - sparked and fueled by his deep religious beliefs - is ultimately what led him to survive for 227 days.
- The Power of Suggestion: “If a scientist knows what the hypothesis of an experiment is, he might unwittingly lead subjects to produce the hypothesized effect—for reasons that have nothing to do with the experiment itself.”
- Illustrates how much one's thoughts influence one's actions - because Pi decided that he was going to survive, his actions followed suit. What does Life of Pi suggest about the psychological being of Yann Martel? - In an interview, Martel revealed his inspiration for the novel: "I was sort of looking for a story, not only with a small 's' but sort of with a capital 'S' – something that would direct my life."
- He spoke of being lonely and needing direction in his life.
- The novel became that direction and purpose in his life, delving deep into the subject of faith, hope, and perseverance.
- In the author's note, he says, "this is indeed a story that will make you believe in God", showing how spiritually valuable his own piece of literature became to him.
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