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Seminar Essay Blueprint - Life of Pi & The Tyger

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Paul Vasquez

on 26 January 2013

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Transcript of Seminar Essay Blueprint - Life of Pi & The Tyger

By: Paul Vasquez Life of Pi & The Tyger Blueprint Seminar I. Introduction Element of suffering B. The element of suffering is a theme in both texts that brings emotion to the reader and has an effect of guiding the characters to understanding some major aspects of life.

Point 1 - Pi Patel endures a horrific horrific boat sinking that took the life of all his family members. He was the only survivor of the incident and he has to go through the emotional and psychological pain of knowing that the odds of his family surviving were diminishing over the days that passed. If you take a look at the first sentence in the novel, you will see that the word "suffering" starts of the novel to give the reader an indication of what Pi’s story is about.

“They were dead; I could no longer deny it. What a thing to acknowledge in your heart! To lose a brother is to lose someone with whom you can share the experience of growing old, who is supposed to bring you a sister-in-law and nieces and nephews, creatures to people the tree of your life and give it new branches. To lose your father is to lose the one whose guidance and help you seek, who supports you like a tree trunk supports its branches. To lose your mother, well, that is like losing the sun above you. [...]. I lay down on the tarpaulin and spent the whole night weeping and grieving, my face buried in my arms. The hyena spent a good part of the night eating.” (Martel 141)

In this passage, spoken by Pi, he finally acknowledges the sad truth about his families death. This is a clear indication of suffering as Pi is in deep bereavement and he notes what it is like loosing each of his family members and weeps all night. Although this does scar him, he takes the whole situation he had faced and becomes a wiser person from his experience. Ultimate Realization Conclusion A. The literary works of "Life of Pi" and "The Tyger" have a strong religious element and both narrators seek spiritual answers to the main questions of evilness and violence in the world we live in.

B. In both texts, there is a strong connection to God, there is a element of suffering, and in the end, there is ultimate realization from their experience.

C. From both authors, we can conclude that in life we learn from our experiences and that they shape who we are. The suffering that lingers in our world and in our emotions is only a naturalistic part of us we cannot change. Religion, no matter which one you follow, helps one connect with God and the spiritual side all of us have within us. What could be taken from "Life of pi" and "The Tyger" is that we start off as innocent little children but grow to realize that life is more complicated than it seems. No one said life is easy and we have to learn to cope with the hardships in life to be the best we can be and to take lessons from it. Truly, one can say that the older one gets, the wiser one becomes. Close Reading of "The Tyger" by William Blake “The Tyger” is notably one of the most famous poems by William Blake. This is a poem that was written to distinguish the creations of good and evil done by God. The poem has a melodic tone to it with an obvious rhyming scheme of AABB all throughout it. It is organized in a series of six quatrains which consist of two rhyming couplets in each. This poem is neat and simple in vocabulary which allows the reader to understand the main themes which include good(‘Lamb‘), evil(‘Tyger’), God and animals. The poem has many poetic devices and was written in the most part as a series of rhetorical questions that Blake wants the reader to interpret for themselves. Blake wants to know the reason for why God created evil with reference to the Tyger, and if He is happy with his creation even though nothing can be done about it. The poem can be broken down into four parts. The first part pertains to The Tyger and its rich attractiveness while also describing the setting and a reference to God, the second describes how God had the idea of creating this animal and what could possibly make him want to create this ferociously evil creature, the third is how the Tyger might have been formed and if the creator was happy with what he had made, and the fourth part is a repetition of the first stanza with a critical word switch. The poem starts off with what the speaker is meaning to talk about addressing “The Tyger” directly : Blake begins the first quatrain by repeating the word “Tyger” and putting a strong emphasis on it. He then notes it as “ burning bright/ In the forest of the night” which provides the reader with rich visual imagery. In this first couplet “bright” and “night” contrast each other so we can see it as the Tyger being described as a beautiful creature who shines with power but coming out of a dark, fearful and mysterious place. Blake ends this quatrain with a rhetorical question. In this question we see the first reference to God with the use of the word “immortal”. He then adds the notion of God creating this “fearful symmetry”. Blake is asking how God could “frame” a creature that is so aesthetically appealing with regards to its symmetry and its beauty, but yet it is one who is a deadly and terrifying creation. In this part of the poem, the speaker is wondering if the Creator had the creatures ferocity and evilness in mind while creating this beautiful animal. In the first stanza, “distant deeps or skies” could be referring to Heaven or Hell as the speaker want to know if it was God in heaven who created this creature or some other being in Hell. The stanza concludes with another set of rhetorical questions addressing again why God would create the Tyger and with relation to him having to work with wings or having to work with fire which hints the upcoming fourth stanza of the creature being created in a hell-like place.

It continues with emphasis on the creator and with a focus on why he would create such a creature. Imagery is used again as it provides a picture of God beginning to bring the tyger to life. The use of body parts in the stanza, shoulder, heart, hand, and feet add to this image. In the line “Could twist the sinews of thy heart?” Blake is referring to the heart of the tyger and how the Creator has the strength and boldness to create a heart of a destructive animal. In the last line, The repetition of the word “what” puts stress on how God came to create this beast that is capable of both evilness and goodness in combination. The third part of this poem deals with how the tyger may have been formed in a dark and fire-bearing place and also if the creator is happy with what he has made and if it is the same Creator of all things good: In this particular part of the poem we turn to a setting that is hell-like and we see the creator as being as being as a blacksmith with reference to the tools the “hammer”, “chain”, “furnace”, and “anvil”. This stanza also adds the image of fire and dangerousness that the tyger pertains and how this creature was also created with them as well. With the reference to God as a blacksmith we see Him as putting in the time and effort to create this animal and Blake wonders why God felt the need to create this evilness. The last couplet in this stanza is filled with dark and evil words such as “dread”, “terrors“, “deadly“, and “dare”, which only add to the imagery of the setting and also of the tyger with the notion of “burning bright”. With this setting and description, the reader starts to question if the Creator is one that is menacing and not the one that is the Creator of the good.

The same idea continues in the fifth stanza as Blake personifies the stars giving them the quality of throwing down spears. The line “When the stars threw down their spears, /And water'd heaven with their tears,” creates a vivid image of what could be interpreted as the Angels in the heavens being the stars who are mad at the creation of the tyger who is so evil, destructive and violent that they in turn become vicious and throw spears down at Earth. They then weep at what the creator has made in the heavens. The next set of rhetorical questions refers to the fact that if God is happy with his creation of the tyger and if he smiled at what he saw it do with the question, “Did he smile his work to see?”, There is no note if the creator is actually happy with his creation, so no one can know for sure. Then the speaker wants to know if this same deity that created the innocent and humble Lamb also created the powerfully dangerous and evil Tyger in the question, “Did he who made the Lamb make thee?”. Blake used this question to note that they are in fact made by the same creator, God, but wants to clarify the distinction between good and evil. Essay Blueprint The final part of the poem is a repetition of the first quatrain with a vital word switch :
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Blake repeated this quatrain to bring back emphasis on the main topic and to remind the reader of the Tyger who is “burning bright” symbolizing its beauty and also the ferociousness and also the original setting of “the forests in the night” which brings back the image of a frightful tyger lurking in a mysterious and scary environment. The speaker once again asks the rhetorical question that was in the first quatrain but switches the word “Could” to “Dare”. This implies that in the beginning of the poem, the speaker thought that God had the capacity and power to create such a creature who is evil in actions but also attractive to the eye. However, in the final stanza “Dare” replaces “Could” showing that the speaker now knows the power of God, but wants to ask why he would dare create such a creature that is opposite to his creations of the good and more on the evil side. The bringing back of this stanza makes it more like a song with this part acting as a chorus. It reunites the poem with its original begging and loops it around making for a better overall experience when reading the poem. This technique effective catches the readers attention and makes them look for the little things in this simple poem which give it a whole new meaning with a strong message. Blake’s minimal use of words in this poem provides a clear indication of the Tyger’s qualities and the Creator’s attributes which adds to the poems overall effectiveness. In the second part of the poem the speaker is asking what led God to come up with a creature that could cause so much destruction: A: A question many of wonder at some point in our lives is, why is there hate, evilness, and suffering in the world and why did God decide to make us live with these elements that only damage us. There are many religious questions we seek to know the answers to, to give us a better understanding of who we are as well as how we should live our lives.

B: The literary works of "Life of Pi" and "The Tyger" have a strong religious element and both narrators seek spiritual answers to the main questions of evilness and violence in the world we live in.

C. In both texts, there is a strong connection to God, there is a element of suffering, and in the end, there is ultimate realization from their experience. II. Body - Connection to God A. The protagonist Pi Patel in "Life of Pi" has a deep interest in religion and God which also correlates to the speaker in "The Tyger" who is interested in God's creations.

Point 1 - At a very young age, Pi wanted to develop a spiritual relationship with God and had always used his faith in his religions to get him through the hardships of life

Example -
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." (Martel, 163)

In this quote by Pi, we see the strong connection he has with God and how his faith in Him helps him through his journey on the lifeboat. If it was not for his belief in God, he would not of have survived since with this, he put in the hard work and effort it took to overcome the situation he was facing. Pi knew God would help him survive and he always kept his faith true. Point 2 - The speaker in The Tyger asks God many questions in which he wants to figure out, such as why he would create a ferocious and evil animal like the tyger. He constantly refers to God all through the poem starting off in the first stanza.

Example -
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
(Blake, The Tyger)

From this expert of the poem, we can see the first connection and reference to God with the word immortal. It then continues all throughout the poem with the speaker asking rhetorical questions that are pertaining to the creation of God and what made him do such things.

As a result, there is a direct relationship in both texts that relate to God. Both the narrator and Pi look to God for the spiritual answers that they want to know. Point 2 - The speaker asks how God could let this evilness and violence coincide with the good that he brought to the world for humanity. Blake uses the tyger as a metaphor to represent this in the world around us and questions the battle between the good and the evil.

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
(Blake, The Tyger)

In this section of the poem, William Blake personifies the stars in the sky as they throw down their spears which is a symbolization for the Angels in the heavens who were not happy with the creation of evil. They water heaven with their tears as a representation for the suffering people have to undergo with this creation.

In conclusion we can see how Pi Patel had faced severe suffering in his life with the loss of everything he valued deeply in his heart which relates to the questions Blake proposes in "The Tyger" of the grief people tolerate from the evilness in the world. in both texts there is not explanation for why things like this happen to innocent people but it goes to show there are some harsh realities in life that we have to overcome and learn important lessons from. C. Both Yann Martel and William Blake express an element of ultimate realization in their texts through the use of experience and they also incorporate a strong message about life that the reader can obtain and use.

Point 1 - In "Life of Pi", Pi Patel starts off as an innocent little boy but as he continues on his journey through life, he matures to become a wise and responsible adult. He learns many things about life mainly due to his past experiences and realizes that his suffering and all other suffering in the world is sadly a cruel reality of nature.

“The reason death sticks so closely to life isn’t biological necessity – it’s envy. Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it, a jealous, possessive love that grabs at what it can. But life leaps over oblivion lightly, losing only a thing or two of no importance, and gloom is just a passing shadow of a cloud.” (Martel 6)

This quote exemplifies how Pi has matured over time and has learned about the beauty of life. Through his experience on the lifeboat and being on the verge of death, he learned that death was trying to grab him but his will to live helped him overcome it and survive an extraordinary situation. Also he had learned that grief and suffering is just temporary and it should not take over your life. Point 2- The poem The Tyger, is taken from a collection of Blake’s work known as the Songs of Innocence and Experience. The connection this poem has to the life of Pi is that, like Pi, the speaker is also innocent in the beginning by asking 'who made you, with 'you' being 'evilness' or 'violence', but as the poem goes on we come to realize the real question was 'why' God created this.

What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
(Blake, The Tyger)

In the last stanza of the poem, there is a vital word switch from ‘would’ to ’dare’. The reason for this is that Blake wanted to show that the speaker had come to an ultimate realization that God has already done what He has done and the only thing that is left to do is to ask the question why.

The connection between the texts is that Pi and the speaker start off as innocent people who question the mysteries of life but then come to a conclusion that one must learn about evilness and suffering through experience in order to defeat them. As a result, we can see that both Pi and the speaker had to go through a series of experiences to come to a realization and understand the questions they wanted to know the answers to.
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