Yann Martel Life of PI
People sometimes refuse to believe things that are discrepant and perhaps a little bit absurd or odd from those that they are daily surrounded with and which they believe in. They are foolishly persuaded about the unchangeable limitations and complete explanations of everything in our world. No, it doesn’t work in this way and who believe in the necessary explanation of everything and doesn’t allow a little bit of fiction and mystery enter his or her life, is person for whom life is lost in the circle of endless question and boring answers. We might say, “I don’t need any mystery and I am sick of fiction, I want to hear only the truth.” However, one can ask, what is the real truth? Mark Twain said, “ why shouldn’t truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction after all has to make sense.” Fiction is the extract of life and as Yann Martel said, “selective transforming of reality”(Yann Martel, VIII). Can we say that reality is the truth and a fiction is just essence of it? Looking at the realities of our world one can find amazing number of truths twisted into the fictions or vice versa and Life of Pi is perhaps one of them. What kind of relationship can we find between fiction and truth in Pi’s life. What has death and life, religion and spirituality, love and hope or animals and their mysteriousness common with realities twisted into fiction in Pi’s life? This anomaly dispersed book full of random thoughts with the extremely spiritual passages of Pi’s experiences is maybe the best source that one can reach for when searching after answers about fiction and its relationship related to truth and fiction.
Almost in very beginning of book Pi starts his story in term of life experiences related to suffering and pain plus his explanation of death and life. Life while is truly lived there is not death and that’s why death is kind of fiction for and in Pi’s life. Pi said, “the reason death stick 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 keeps over oblivion lightly, loosing only a thing or two of no importance, and gloom is but the passing shadow of the cloud.” (Martel, pg.5)
In three-hundred-twenty-fife pages notion of death is describe many times, but never in point where Pi would want to give up his life. The life for him is something valuable and bigger than death.
Despite being stuck in the boat with tiger suffering from lack of water and food, full of sorrow and uncertainty about his life he is not loosing hope and trust in life. I have never known a worse physical hell than this putrid taste and past feeling in the mouth, this unbearable pressure at the back of the throat, this sensation that my blood was turning into the thick syrup that barely flowed. Truly, by combination, tiger was nothing. (Martel. Pg.135)
What is real death? Answer can vary in hundreds of opinions and thousand of guesses. Isn’t that really only envious phenomenon that wants to be similar to the beauty of life? Isn’t that only next step to even more beautiful life where we can live in peace and eternity. Again sort of fictional explanation, but perhaps related to crucially important part of Pi’s life, which is religion. Religions and trust in God plays in Pi’s life very essential role. Pi beliefs in three religions put him into the contradiction of common conventions of environment he lives in and his own desire to be part all three of them Hindu, Christianity and Islam. However, the environment that he is surrounded with is not excepting it. “Babu Ghandy said, ‘All religions are true’. I just want to believe in God,” I blurted out and looked down red in the face.”( Martel, pg.69) This moment in Life of Pi touched me as only few others after it. What is religion? Who gave us a right to divide Christ, Vishnu and Mohammed? How can we teach what is right regarding to God and what God likes and dislike? Isn’t every religion a little bit of fiction as a death in man life that we discussed before? I believe and God is big part of myself, but truly said my religion is sometimes struggling and suffering when I see foolishness and hypocrisy of people and religious leaders. As Pi said “Religion is more than rite and ritual. “There is what the rite and ritual stands for.”(Martel, pg.48) God stays in heart and what really matters is not how many time you attend service or if you believe in Christ or Vishnu or Mohammed or in all three of them in the same time. What really mater is good and happiness that they are able to insert into your heart. The reason why religion can seem so hypocritical is the point that people are interpreting God in uncountable and multiple ways and mostly into the ways that are convenient for those or for others. Who give us a right to judge person like Pi? Was it God who wanted to chase away pi from Great Mosque, Church or Hindu Temple or just man foolish rules and doctrines of fictional explanations of religion and God. Once an oaf chased me away from the great Mosque.
When I went to church priest the priest glared at me so that I could not feel the peace of Christ. A Bahramin sometimes shooed me away from darshan. My religious doings were reported to my parents in the hushed, urgent tones of treason revealed. As if this small-mindedness did God any good. To me religion is about our dignity not about our depravity. (Martel, pg.71)
Religion is something that should connect us a not divide us into enemies. Religion is something that could be considered as a charming circle where there are not differences among people and that can be pre-step into the world over there in skies where is “One nation, one passport,. One nation in the sky?” (Martel, pg.73). Life is something extraordinary and amazing where every one of us can reach a point of happiness or at least personal satisfaction. This can be define in various ways and especially matters on the personal life expectation. Pi’s found big part of it in his beliefs and trust in God. He made his own religion, perhaps better than all of the others that were are interpreted through the words of the religious leaders and preachers. He was able to connect basically the three completely different religions and joint them together.
“Time is an illusion that only makes us pant. I survived because I forgot even the very notion of time.” Time is like a coin that has to be spend somehow and it’s only up to us how and where we will spend this small tiny shiny treasure. Time is not something that can be plan or that is influence by destiny, time is broad and require presence of mystery. Pi survived because of time and in the same time because he was not part of it. Eight and a half months he was roaming Pacific Ocean stacked on several feet long life boat accompanied only with fellow tiger and routines of his every day life. Would be possible to think about time as something real and infinite in his position. NO. You got to imagine life as something above reality and something that has an end somewhere. Wearing the imagination of fact that time can be the best mediator for death Pi would not survive this big journey. As he said, “what I remember are events and encounters and routines, markers that emerged here and there from the ocean of time and imprinted themselves into my memory.” (Martel. Pg.192). On other hand time was a guarantee of distance; and time as a fear of death was also hope for rescue. Time in Pi’s situation was a antagonistic character that could bring Pi into the skeptical thoughts about possibility of the dramatic end of his journey.
As was said in the beginning of this paper, fiction is only twisted true into the stories and reality. Why shouldn’t truth be stranger than fiction. I guess for that very reason that fiction is recreated reality like life, death, religion and time. Pi’s story offer us incredible source of these two characteristics and his own personality shaped by struggles, lost and find of sense in terms of life and survival.
Novel Life of PI -