The Life of Pi

I decided to read Life of Pi because I had watched the movie a long time ago with my family and attempted to read the book afterwards. Unfortunately, I gave up on it within a few days. I wanted to give it another shot because of how much I enjoyed the movie. It is common knowledge that books are always better than their cinematic counterparts. Reading is not (and has never been) my strong suit. When I’m forced to read a book for a class, such as The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger or To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, I tend to read it because I have to. This makes me unable to enjoy the book for what it really is. I prefer an assignment such as this, where I have the ability to choose the book I want to read, and have no set dates in which certain chapters need to be read by. Life of Pi is about a boy stranded at sea with a tiger as a companion as well as other animals. As he is stranded at sea with a fully grown tiger, Pi Patel experiences a variety of emotions. Pi would shake at the anxiety of a hyena being on a boat with him, sometimes even laughing out of shock.

Life of Pi has a noticeable theme of God. Towards the beginning, Pi’s love for God is seen as he takes up three religions. He was originally doubtful about Christianity, saying it had few gods and a lot of violence, but good teaching. His views on other religions portray Hindu beliefs about other religions at the time the story took place. While reading, I noticed that Pi references stories from the Ramayana, an epic poem about Rama’s struggles to save his wife, Sita, from the demon Ravana. When Pi was just 14, he met Jesus Christ. Furthermore, he talks to a pastor who tells him stories of the manlike god who sacrifices himself for humanity’s sins. The more Pi learned about him, the more he wanted to know about him. The same happens when Pi is introduced to Islam. Pi’s religious views make me question my view on religion. To me, I look at religion from a scientific perspective. When my parents tell me God is everywhere, and is even within me, I find it hard to believe. In bad situations, specifically ones that people attribute to God helping, my mind wanders and comes up with different scenarios that could have happened. However, these are just my views, and everyone’s view differ based on how they were raised, as well as their morals.

While others may enjoy the ending, I did not. I did not like the way Richard Parker just left abruptly, leaving Pi heartbroken. The most interesting part to me was when Pi talked about his experience of surviving 227 days at sea, but with humans instead of animals. The sailor was the zebra, the cook the hyena and his mother was the orangutan. Pi chose himself to be the tiger. Pi’s version of the story was more extreme and quite a bit more depressing. Mr. Okamoto’s letter to the writer was a nice ending to the story.