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Life of Pi

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Essay title: Life of Pi

1. At the beginning of the story, we already know that Pi has had a new life in Canada, so he must be rescued as a result. The last part, “Benito Juarez Infirmary, Tomatlan, Mexico”, tells that after Pi was rescued, two Japanese people came after him to investigate the reason of the catastrophe. Then, Yann Martel states his opinions about reality as well as novels and reading through Pi’s mouth:

“Isn’t telling about something --- using words, English or Japanese --- already something of an invention? Isn’t just looking upon this world already something of an invention?

“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?”

At the end of the novel, Pi narrates another story, which is so cruel that it does not match the “Happy Ending” in the last sentence of the first part. In this story, Pi’s mother and four real people fall into the lifeboat instead of Pi and three animals, and eventually we find that only Pi survived. He not only has to see his mother being killed, but also has to eat human bodies to keep alive like that cook.

Before Yann Martel wrote this novel, he had already written two unknown books. He had tried many different jobs, which put his life in an embarrassing situation. He mentioned that this book was born as he was hungry in “Author’s Note”, so he went to India to look for energy and inspiration. Nevertheless, the publishing ran into a predicament again, because it was refused by many famous publishers; besides, because of hungry, he had a better understanding of difficulties of bottom-class people and deceit and designing of human beings.

The author provides this cruel story to make readers completely have another understanding of the first story: Richard Parker is exactly Pi’s alter ago. Behind the same law of the jungle, instead of saying the animals are metaphor of human beings in the first story, it is better to say the people in the second story have different animals’ characteristics. Consequently, when Pi asked those two Japanese that which story they preferred, they both agreed with “the story with animals”, “and so it goes with God.”

It is said to be “a novel make you believe in God”. However, the author actually provides two different stories in the novel, because the reality is too cruel. We are not supposed to be like atheists with “lack imagination and miss the better story”.

2. In the second story that Pi tells to the Japanese transport minister, there are four people: a Chinese sailor with a broken leg, a French cook, Pi, and Pi’s mother; furthermore, we are able to realize that the zebra is the sailor, the hyena is the cook, and the orangutan is Pi’s mother, but where is the tiger, Richard Parker?

Beyond that, in Mr.Okamoto’s report, the last paragraph runs as follows: As an aside, story of sole survivor, Mr.Piscine Molitor Patel, Indian citizen, is an astounding story of courage and endurance in the face of extraordinarily difficult and tragic circumstance. In the experience of this investigator, his story is unparalleled in the history of shipwrecks. Very few castaways can claim to have survived so long at sea at Mr.Patel, and none in the company of an adult Bengal tiger.

Therefore, I believe the second story is true, but I wish the first one to be true. I prefer an adventure or a miracle with a “Happy Ending” to an extremely tragic story that forces a 16-year-old boy to make up a tiger to forget his tragedy. Richard Parker is just another Pi, and the boy who tamed the tiger is an educated Pi. They both exist, and each of them stands for bestiality and human nature. If I was Pi, I would rather die than struggle forever.

3. At first, Pi comes up with 6 different ideas to kill this dangerous tiger, Richard Parker, but the bottom line is he decides to keep him alive. Why?

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