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Religion in Life of Pi.

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Adrian Fernandez Avendaño

on 20 November 2013

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Transcript of Religion in Life of Pi.

Religion in Life of Pi.
Pi's Beliefs Help Him Tolerate Adversity
Thesis Statement
Life of Pi
includes religion as one of the main themes in

order to help the protagonist tolerate adverse

situations, as well as to explain more abstract matters

such as what is realistic or ideal, and what is the

"better story".
A Brief Introduction
Religion is a theme that predominates in life of Pi.
When Pi suffers or feels

abandon to his own fate,

he turns himself to God.
Pi feels that 3 religions are

equal and help him

connect with God.
Pi, raised in Hinduism, decides to adopt Christianity and Islam as well in order to echo his "Love for God".
3 main definitions
A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and

purpose of the universe, considered as the creation

of a superhuman being, usually involving devotional

and ritual observances.
The doctrine or belief that there is no God.
An intellectual doctrine or attitude affirming the

uncertainty of all claims to ultimate knowledge.
Realism Vs. Idealism
Pi’s is able to see that

doubting his faith only makes

him human and allows him to

believe in his religions with

even more conviction.
Pi is able to effectively

blend idealism and realism

into one another after

experiencing so many

different life changing

“Hindus, in their capacity for love,

are indeed hairless Christians, just

as Muslims, in the way they see

God in everything, are bearded

Hindus, and Christians, in their

devotion to God, are hat wearing

Muslims.” (Martel)
The effect of having three religions on Pi is that it causes him to have many different perspectives of life.

This allows his idealistic views to flourish which gives his mindset a great level of eccentricity.

However, this also gives Pi a sense of realism, as he is able to pick and choose what makes sense to him out of the three religions.

“If Christ spent an anguished

night in prayer, if He burst out from the

Cross, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken

me?' then surely we are also permitted doubt.

But we must move on. To choose doubt as a

philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility

as a means of transportation.” (Martel)
Before the tragic accident, Pi had undoubted faith in his beliefs.

Now, he is faced with huge adverse circumstances in which his faith is pushed to the limit.

To doubt ones beliefs is necessary in order to understand what one believes in.

This helps his realistic points of views grow while not totally shutting down his idealistic points of views.
“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.”
The fact that he is faced with the near impossible

yet he believes that with God, anything is possible once

the hard work is put into it, shows that he can be

realistic about his situation by saying he knows he needs to

push himself and try hard to survive, while his idealism plays

a part by him saying that it is only with God, he is able

to do this.
His credo aids him in

surviving and gives him

will to live.
“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 belief in God is so powerful that it gives Pi
the inner force required to overcome the difficult
situation he is in.

Karma: the concept of actions and deeds and how these are rewarded / punished.

Whenever a good action is performed is technically rewarded by something that is either needed at that particular moment or that will favour the recompensed.

When an incorrect action is executed, it is punished. The magnitude of the punishment or reward depends
of how good or bad the action was.
“It was natural that, bereft and

desperate as I was, in those throes of

unremitting suffering, I should turn to

God” (358).
Pi encounters an “island” made only of algae and trees. He decides to live there until he realizes that such island is carnivorous and understands the dangers that he is exposed to and so he leaves, once again relying on luck.

He immediately gives up and stops trying to survive by himself and lets God do whatever He thinks is most convenient.

The way says this sentence is used though, makes the reader feel that Pi has purposely been devoted to religion just to be prepared to gain trust and confidence in moments where it seems to be no chances of waking up yet another day.
Life of Pi And "The Better Story"
Pi believes in the first story he

told, which was the one with the animals.
“So you want another story?” (380)

- “Here’s another story” (381)

Pi, first, explicitly tells the story he believes.

Pi tells the animal story first because this is
what he believes and he has faith, as well as, he believes in God.
In the book, the Japanese

investigators in the end chose the animal

story and in the movie, Yann Martel

chooses the story with the animals as well.

- “Thank you. And so it

goes with God.” - Pi (399)

Originally the Japanese investigators ask for a second story.

Later Pi simply asks them which story they prefer and they both agreed on the story with the animals.

In the letter the Japanese investigators sent to Yann Martel was stated, “Very few castaways can claim to have survived so long at sea as Mr. Patel and non in the company of an adult Bengal tiger.”

In the movie, Yann Martel is asked the same question and he easily replies saying that he believes the story with the animals.

Pi successfully helps the skeptics overcome one of the largest hurdles to faith – believing in the unbelievable.
The reader is left with a question

in their mind, unanswered. They must

now choose which story they believe.
Martel’s story is set up to help viewers/readers

consider which version of the world they prefer –

the one where we make our own way and suffer

through the darkness via self-determination, or the

one where we are aided by something greater than


If you were Martel and Pi just told you his story, which would be the Better Story in your opinion?

Or which story would you prefer?

This question is asked to see whether you are a person that prefers to believe in things that always make sense/things that you can see, or that are you a person that prefers to believe in miracles/take things on faith.
Pi’s beliefs take credit for

Pi’s actions.
“Thank you, Lord Vishnu, thank you! Once you

save the world by taking the form of a fish. Now

you have saved me by taking the form of a fish.

Thank you, thank you!” (233).
Pi’s beliefs are so strong that any action that greatly affects the protagonist, is either questioned or thanked to a superior being.

Pi performs regular, constant prayers on daily basis.

This helps Pi maintain a direct connection to God, but also helps him keep a routine.

Religion plays an important role in keeping Pi sane; as in religion, simply having faith is enough to preserve morality.
Full transcript