Life of Pi is a
novel written by Yann Martel and published in the year 2001 by Vintage Canada.
The novel which ha sold over 100 million copies worldwide was inspired through
Martel life experiences. Martel inspiration was first asked in a 2002 interview
with PBS, Martel “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
began to discuss how he was lonely and through religion he was able to discover
a new direction in his life which lead to him writing his novel which met his
needs. In Yann Martel’s Life of PI, the
main character Piscine Patel, known to all as Pi is an Indian boy who has been
stranded in the middle of the Pacific Ocean for 277 days. Pi’s mentality is
beginning to change but through his religion is he able to remain sane. “Religion will save us”, Pi, who is narrating most
of the story, goes on to say that religion had always been close to his heart.
In Yann Martel’s novel, Life of Pi, through adverse situations, one’s religion
is the most significant factor in the ability for their survival. Pi’s uses the
teachings from Islam, Hinduism and Christianity to help him through his journey
by helping him remain sane, possess hope and gain strength.
In the novel, Life
of Pi, there were several moments of the story where Pi had encountered
traumatic and horrifying events, which could’ve lead to a loss of an individual
sanity and hope. Individual lose their ability to think and act in an orderly
manner. In the novel, Pi used his religious beliefs and his faith to keep him
distracted from his reality. Pi uses his teachings to allow him to fight
insanity and hold the truth which he believes. “I practiced religious rituals
that I adapted to the circumstances – solitary masses without priests… They
bought me comfort, that is certain. But it was hard, oh it was hard. “(Martel).
This quote is expressing Pi’s emotions towards his religious practices. Pi is explaining
how his rituals and teaching has helped him adapt to the circumstances and
allowed him to remain sane through the hardest of times. His religious beliefs are
allowing him to have subtle behaviour and allowing him to remain sane at all
costs. Another example is shown when Pi laid his hands on so many fishes and
his religious beliefs helped him remain sane throughout. “I laid hands on so
many fish that my body began to glitter from all the fish scales that became
stuck to it. I wore these spots of shine and silver like tilaks, the marks of
colour that we Hindus wear on our foreheads as symbols of the divine” (Martel).
This quote is expressing how Pi remained sane through his silver like tilaks,
which Hindus wear on their foreheads as a symbol of divine. Pi was able to
accept the fact that fish scales were on his body and he remained sane through
his religious beliefs. Religious beliefs keep individual distracted from
reality enables a sight of hope and happiness. Throughout the novel, Pi was in
circumstances which may had him to the wrong path. Pi may have been going crazy
and not acting in an orderly manner. Through his religious encounters and
beliefs, he was able to cancel out everything going on in his life and able to
Piscine Patel was
lost at sea for 227 days with a Bengal tiger. Through his time, he was beginning
to lose all hope but through god and his religious beliefs he was able to
possess hope which he needed for survival. Belief towards religion allows individuals
to obtain further knowledge and hope which may help them through their toughest
of times. In the novel, Pi is having difficulty, hoping for survival but
through his religious beliefs, he remains hopeful and continues his journey. Religion
is an key factor which drives Pi’s motive and allows him to continue going. “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 will put in all
the hard work necessary. Yes, so long as God is with me, I will not die. Amen”(Martel).
This quote is expressing how Pi is beginning to give up and has lost all hope
but through god he is able to fight for survival and do anything to beat his
odds. Pi has a deep connection with god
and religion. This connection is allowing Pi to possess all the hope which
remains. ‘Jesus, Mary, Muhammad and Vishnu, how good to see you. Come to the
lifeboat. Do you hear this whistle?… Swim, swim! You’re a strong swimmer.
It’s not a hundred feet” (Martel). This quote is showing how all these
important figures of Pi’s religion is giving him hope and allowing him to fight
for survival. All these important figures are giving Pi a sense of hope and belief.
There are many moments in the novel where Pi feels hopeless but through his religious
figures and beliefs he was able to possess and last hope which remained.