Literary Exploration discussion

Life of Pi
This topic is about Life of Pi
62 views
Life of Pi > Life of Pi - The Life Boat *Potential Spoilers*

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Michael, Mod Prometheus (new) - rated it 1 star

Michael (knowledgelost) | 1255 comments Mod
A religious boy adrift in a lifeboat with a wild animals; is this a metaphor for the human condition or something else?


message 2: by Kim, In Absentia (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kim | 588 comments Mod
I tried not to read anything further into it. Just the adventure and hardship of the circumstances alone were enough for me.


Michael | 51 comments It explains itself in the end...


message 4: by Kim, In Absentia (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kim | 588 comments Mod
Not necessarily. It gives one possible explanation but purposefully leaves it up to the readers to decide for themselves.


message 5: by Tina (last edited Jul 22, 2012 01:24AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tina I saw the author, Yann Martel, at the Los Angeles Festival of Books a few years ago, and he said he did not choose which of Pi's stories was true when he was writing it, instead leaving the reader to decide which was the best story. Having now read and adored this book twice, I still do not know which story to believe, so I would like to address both possibilities. If we go with the first story Pi tells, WOW, what a fantastic and terrible adventure, and what a survival instinct this kid had! Thank goodness that he was raised in a zoo, because the knowledge he gained saved his life many times over.

I have read reviews of this book that claim it will make a believer of atheists and agnostics, but I think it is just the opposite. If we are to believe the second story and assume that Pi substituted animals for people because it was too horrible for him to bare and that he could not resolve his beliefs with the things he had to do, it is still a harrowing, albeit far less fanciful adventure. Pi's religious beliefs were set aside as his animal instincts and his knowledge allowed him to do everything necessary to save his own life repeatedly.


Andrea | 57 comments I completely agree with you Tina. The philosophical aspects of this book are a huge part of why I love it so much. When the possibility that Pi only substituted animals for people is considered, Karl Marx's idea that "religion is the opiate of the masses" comes to my mind and I contemplate just how much of an opiate any of the religions was for Pi if he was merely unable to face what he had done to survive and, thus, used animals as a way of minimizing his actions. What does that say about religion? And what are the implications of having replaced human beings with animals for his story? What does that say about humanity? For me this book poses endless questions and I am content to merely ponder them; for myself, I need no definitive answers.


message 7: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (zeldas) | 57 comments Humans, religious or not, have survival instincts. Even without religion, a person can have a conscience; is a conscience an opiate as well?


message 8: by Tina (last edited Jul 25, 2012 12:25PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tina Barbara wrote: "Humans, religious or not, have survival instincts. Even without religion, a person can have a conscience; is a conscience an opiate as well?"

No, in Andreas's example, religion is the opiate that soothes Pi's conscience. His beliefs allowed him to cope with the horrible things he had to do to survive.


back to top

unread topics | mark unread