Life of Pi---the meditation on human nature
Life of Pi is a Canadian fantasy adventure novel by Yann Martel published in 2001. The main character and first-person perspective narrator Piscine Molitor Patel known as “Pi”, an Indian boy from Pondicherry tells a story which he survives 227 days after a shipwreck while stranded on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. It was supposed to be a fascinating adventure story but a possible “true” story appeared at the end of the novel. The author left a big question for readers: ”A merciless story and an unbelievable fantasy story, which one will you choose to believe?”
The whole story begins with a shipwreck. In Pi’s story, his family members all dead by this shipwreck. In Pi’s description, the ship they took is “a grimy, hard-working cargo ship”(pg.111) They have a storm 4 days after that entered the Pacific ocean. According to Pi’s storytelling, when he found out there was a storm appeared he didn’t scare at all he can even “walk through it without much difficulty”（pg133）. Pi thought it was just raining can’t be qualified as a storm. If he is telling the truth about the weather condition at that moment then why will the shipwrecked so easily? It doesn’t make any sense. As Pi mentioned before all the dangerous wild animals were sedated, cages were loaded and secured were kept confined to their cages but how come after the shipwreck some of them escaped and still alive? About the floating island, Pi said he saw hundreds of thousands of meerkats lived on the island. Meerkats are carnivorous animals, I wonder how Pi lived on the island safely for almost two weeks without being attacked by meerkats. As he said the algae is mordant at night, then how Pi can survive by eating it every day even though he didn’t eat it at night. However, I still question there will still be some undigested algae can dissolve his stomach. All these logical flaws that are unable to convince me to believe him which proved that Pi is not a reliable narrator.
However, Pi’s story has many logical flaws it doesn’t mean his story is all fictitious. The whole story that he told about animals is actually based on terrifying reality. At the end of the novel, Pi was interviewed by two Japanese officers. He told them about the story of he living with wild animals for 227 days on Pacific ocean and survived. The two officers apparently didn’t believe this story and they asked for the “reality”. Pi talked about another version of the sea survival record - in fact, there are no animals on the lifeboat, only one cook, a broken leg sailor, Pi and his mother. The cook killed and ate the sailor, then killed the mother, and eventually, Pi couldn't bear to kill and eat the cook. The final reality is that only Pi lived. The two Japanese officers were shocked by this brutal reality and they chose to use the original story and characterized Pi as a hero even though they still won’t believe him.
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