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Life of Pi
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Daria | 40 comments Mod
Let's discuss this book!

message 2: by Daria (last edited Feb 06, 2013 08:09AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Daria | 40 comments Mod
My questions:
1. In the Author's Note, Mr. Adirubasamy boldly claims that this story "will make you belive in God," and the author, after researching and writing the story, agrees. Did Pi's tale alter your beliefs about God?

2. In chapter 23, Pi sparks a lively debate when all three of his spiritual advisors try to claim him. At the heart of this confrontation is Pi's insistence that he cannot accept an exclusively Hindu, Christian, or Muslim faith; he can only be content with all three. What is Pi seeking that can solely be attained by this apparent contradiction? Is there something commmon to all religions? Are they "all the same"? If not, how are they different? Is there a difference between faith and belief?

3. Pi imagines that his brother would have teasingly called him Noah. How does Pi's voyage compare to the biblical story of Noah, who was spared from the flood while God washed away the sinners?

4. At some point Pi tells us that he felt sadden and inexplicable elation when a powerful thunderstorm broke out: «I remember that close encounter with electrocution and third-degree burns as one of the few times during my ordeal when I felt genuine happiness». Can you explain this sort of reaction? What made Pi happy?

5. When a passing ship failed to notice the lifeboat despite the fact that he did his best to attract people’s attention, Pi tells us that after his initial disappointment he turned to Richard Parker to say that he loved him very much. Why do you think Pi admits his feelings under these circumstances? What do you make of the whole situation?

6. Pi's story of surviving on a lifeboat with zoo animals is rather incredible. Did the far-fetched nature of the story ever bother you? Was Pi a convincing storyteller? In the end Pi is forced to tell the shipping officials a more credible story. Does his story without animals change your view of the story with animals?

7. What do you think of the whole book? Did you enjoy the plot and the background about all those animals and the zoo?

message 3: by Alina (new) - added it

Alina Borisova (silencelisa) | 3 comments 1.Probably it's just me,but this book is miles away from actually expressing any beliefs. Yes,the boy is torn between choosing a right one for his outlook and attitudes,but it he really sounding the ground for any of them?
I mean,there is a scene where he is confronted by three advocates of certain religious schools,but then the story is left crumpled and this plot line remains unattended.

2. Well, i suppose,that he is not looking for something in particular,it's just that the sheer contradiction three advisers present leaves him overwhelmed. All religions have different background and reducing them all to the same level seems like a futile endeavor, because as tastes differ,each religion has a unique core,not only spiritual base,but cultural premises.By treating them all alike,we are depriving people from heritage they may obtain and beliefs they may adopt. There is always something common between everything in our lives,isn't there?it might be a fleeting sense or a sound evidence,but our being encounters so many cases of irrational similarities,that people began believing in the ubiquitous nature of any religious studies. However,each to their own,and exactly the choice the religion provides facilitates the moral rumblings we partake.Faith may not be consolidated by any official religion,but one might believe in something without attaching themselves to any spiritual brach.Beliefs are more fundamental,they are recognized as so by the Church,so hold more power in regards to moral conundrum.

3.Good grief,this idea didn't cross my mind in the least,while i was reading the book.Pi's voyage is a story of survival,stoical resistance to hardships of nature,but religion doesn't come into this till probably the final chapters.It may just be possible,that i misconstruct the essence of the plot.

4.I suppose,that physical pain may bring a certain relief,because it distracts from emotional devastation.In this case,he might have felt rather elated,as something unusual and out of order was happening-afterwards he only faced day-to-day routine.A change brings a sense of excitement to the soul,even if it challenges a body.

5.There is no way understanding why he had said these things,because the every situation calls for the reaction,and this one was not an exception. Possibly,he might have understood, that this was it,the end of the so-called journey,when the last hope is abandoned and the future is nowhere to see on the horizon.

6.Yes, the story is not an account of real life,but,nonetheless, it's so moving and recounted in such a way,that the reader doesn't need to believe,the story unfolds naturally enough to make you to forget about such subtleties.I wouldn't go so far to say,that Pi is a incredibly convincing storyteller, because sometimes the story widely digresses,and then comes back to particular sub-plots,but generally,he can be called a gifted narrator,because he doesn't let you to lose the thread of the story once and for all.To be honest,i might as well own up to suspecting that another context is kept behind the bars of imagination and that for the sake of touching and philosophical finale the accompanying story would appear.Not that it makes the story worse,just a bit pretentious.

7.I though the book was rather well-written,the plot wandered a lot,but just about managed to keep the readers afloat(literally).The author did a great job and without a doubt all the rewards the book has gained were truly deserved.However,with hindsight,and after watching the movie,i disclosed another concept,which i'm not entirely comfortable with.The story seems to entail and implicit a moral,but putting your finger on it might prove to be impossible,because it' so ingrained into the narration.Clearly,there's something behind it,but it stays invisible.But it just be me.(and my narrow-mindedness).

Daria | 40 comments Mod
1) I absolutely agree with you on the first question! I mean it is obvious that the boy is confused and he has been all along. His parents aren't religious and consequently the boy doesn't have any religious upbringing. It is up to Pi to decide which religion he favors the most and he just can't make up his mind sitting on the fence. Had he been born say to a Catholic or Jewish family, he wouldn't need/want/have to decide which religion is right for him. Pi is given this freedom so he doesn't know what to do with it. Yann Martel presents Pi's refusal to choose as a noble and completely conscientious action, some sort of a rebellious statement but I don't believe it is so.
Then there is this initial claim that the story "will make you belive in God" which sounds so overconfident and to me kind of bossy. Neither this nor any other book could ever make me believe in God. Even if there were some books that could "open my eyes" I suppose that would be only Bible or some other sacred book.

2) I agree that "there is always something common between everything in our lives". It is true that different religions have different spiritual and cultural cores, but at the same time all relligions are about sticking to rules, believing unconditionally in whatever your god tells you to - that is what's common to all religions. But then there is this new type of "religious" people who don't bother to stick to any dogmas, they have premarital sex, use contraceptives and do all sorts of other things that any orthodox religion prohibits. Personally I don't give a damn who does what as long as it doesn't hurt me so I am not shaming anyone. Far from it. I am just saying that if you want to go religious you have to stick to rules (whatever they are) and it all starts with something basic as choosing ONE religion, placing it above all else. I also understand that sometimes people don't want to be religious but they want and need to believe in SOMETHING great and divine because they are affraid to acknowledge the fact that there is noone there watching over us. So basicly I agree that "one might believe in something without attaching themselves to any spiritual brach. Beliefs are more fundamental,they are recognized as so by the Church,so hold more power in regards to moral conundrum" but don't you think that opting for being unattached to any religion encourages certain moral looseness, like you don't have to follow certain rules?

3) I hope that Yann Martel wasn't trying to present Pi as a new Noah, cause that would be so wrong. But if this is the case then it means that all those who died in the shipwreck died because they were sinners. However, I don't think Pi was more innocent or spiritually superior in comparison to his poor mother or his brother for that matter. It wasn't like Pi deserved to survive because he prayed on a regular basis. I don't believe Pi was the chosen one and let's hope it's not what Martel was trying to convey.

4-5) These are good points, Alina, I don't know what to add to them, apart from that the thunderstorm represents God and lightnings are some kind of divine manifesting itself. Pi is forgotten and forsaken by the whole world! only God hasn't abandoned Pi, Divine demonstrates its presence, its power, its everlasting companionship with Pi and Pi is happy because he has been acknowledged, reminded that he isn't alone.

6) I have some mixed feelings, on one hand I can believe whatever story anyone can come up with, on the other hand I tend to be sceptical of everything people say because after all it's only human to invent, exaggerate, hallucinate etc. So, yeah, it's impossible to say for sure what happened. I don't really care whether the story is made up or not. It may be true or false - doesn't make much of a differance to me.

7) Having given this book 4 stars out of 5 I think it is a good read. However something tells me Life of Pi wasn't the best book shortlisted for the man booker prize in 2002

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