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Through the examination of these themes that will be discussed, the story ​Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, is the uncompromising story of survival in the face of the greatest challenges or obstacles one might face in life. Pi learns that survival requires sacrifice while living a full life hinges on one’s ability to withstand the aspects of religion, family, and self-reliance/survival. Through the examination, the author achieves a heightened understanding of the importance of survival with these three themes.

In the story Life of Pi, Pi Patel personally experiences different aspects of four religions including Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam. The author, Yann Martel promotes the concept of believing in more than one religion by exemplifying the diversities within each faith. The evident motif of religion plays a major factor in Pi’s life; however, the author chooses not to focus on one religion specifically but instead enforces a glorification of more religions. For example in this story there are many aspects when it comes to religion, Pi: “During those days of plenty, 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 sliver like tiklas, the marks of color that we Hindus wear on our foreheads as symbols of the divine” (Yann Martel, ​Life of Pi​. Vintage Canada, 2011, p.217 [all other quotes from this source]). This example signifies even though he has been in the sea for 227 days without any food or water, he still thinks about religion and makes self-to-world connections with religion through the fishes. Religion is key in the story​ Life of Pi, ​it’s important to see he isn’t giving up. Secondly, since Pi was born a Hindu, he mentions multiple important aspects of Hinduism.

Pi: Brahman saguna is made manifest to our limited senses. Brahman expressed not only in gods but in humans, animals, trees, in a handful of earth, everything has a trace of divinity in it. The truth of life is that Brahman is no different from man, the spiritual force within us, what you might call the soul. The infinite within the finite. If you ask me how Brahman and Atman relate precisely. I would say in the same way the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit relate: mysteriously.

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He expresses that no matter what life has, he is sure that Brahmans did not only express it in gods but in animals, trees, and the entire earth. As mentioned above, religion to Pi is very important. This last example identifies in the time of need, that God is always present. Pi: “It was natural that bereft and desperate as I was, in the throes of unremitting suffering, I should turn to God” (Yann Martel, ​Life of Pi​. Vintage Canada, 2011, p.314-315 [all other quotes from this source]). It’s present that Pi has never given up hope he learned that God is always around in desperate times, since Pi was stranded at sea for 227 days, he turned to God for help. In religion, there are many aspects, from different cultures to beliefs, it’s proven that at the hardest times, Pi has always believed in god. When takes time out of his day to attend the Mosque, Church, and Temple, he is sure to call for god in the importance of survival.

As a part of Pi’s transformation comes as a result of the tests he must overcome, which help demonstrate his remarkable character. Pi, also makes a few choices and loses some valuable things in his life. In the novel, Pi is a sixteen-year-old boy stranded on a lifeboat with a Royal Bengal Tiger, Richard Parker, without his family in the Pacific Ocean who is trying to find a way to reach the shore. In the story ​Life of Pi, ​he has a lot of respect for his parents and understands the meaning of life and the consequences faced. Pi: “Thank God I’ve found you. What is happening? I am very scared. There is water at the bottom of the ship. I am worried about my family”. (Yann Martel, ​Life of Pi. Vintage Canada, 2011, p.130 [all other quotes from this source]). As Pi and his parents were getting ready to leave, he was so fond of leaving Pondicherry. After the boat sank he was looking for his family, his brother, and the zoo animals but came across a crew member on the boat. It shows that as the need for survival came up he kept thanking god, every word he mentions “God’. Secondly, he talks about his father and how his father is a businessman who works and understands difficult situations. Pi’s father in defense told Pi, Santosh: “I suppose that’s what we are all trying to do – to love god” (Yann Martel, ​Life of Pi​. Vintage Canada, 2011, p.77 [all other quotes from this source]). No matter what time of day it is, Pi always mentions something about god. As seen his father tries to explain that we all have different understandings of God. it’s evident that his father is trying to teach him the key was of survival. Thirdly, this last example talks about his mom, the way she sees Pi, and her understanding of what he is and how it’s going to help him when times get hard. Gita: “Perhaps Piscine is marching to a different drumbeat of progress” (Yann Martel, ​Life of Pi​. Vintage Canada, 2011, p.83 [all other quotes from this source]). As for family, his family teaches him many aspects of survival, One would be how to swim, and his mamaji taught him how to swim, when his father fed the tiger the goat, to show the dangers faced in the real world, which led him to be prepared.

Pi begins to demonstrate his transformation as he begins to show evidence that he believes in his abilities. Yann Martel makes a memorable contribution to this pool of authors in his novel ​Life of Pi. ​Martel uses highly descriptive images such as scenes on the lifeboat, cannibalistic island, and in Pi’s home paired with exceptional symbolism through the animals portrayed in this novel. In Pi’s case, this means that he has to leave his family, the Zoo and Pondicherry. Pi: “Never give up. We fight and fight and fight. We fight no matter the cost of battle, the losses we take, and the improbability of success. We fight to the very end, it’s something constitutional, an inability to let go” (Yann Martel, ​Life of Pi​. Vintage Canada, 2011, p.298 [all other quotes from this source]). As Pi says not to give up, is evident from the book and the movie that he doesn’t give up, he sits on the boat and eats the live fish, and he is a vegetarian, which is very hard to find food for. He keeps fighting, no matter what loss he has. During a time in the sea. A huge storm came he still never gave up, he saw a cruise ship and fired the shot fire multiple times even after the cruise ship had departed. Secondly, the way of survival he has built from that lifeboat and feeding off of the fishes, shows that he never gives up, which connects with the evidence above. Pi: “Despite the tragedy afflicting me, despite not feeling well, I let out a laugh. I brought my hands to my chest, surprised at how I felt. Oh my. This laughter was a volcano of happiness erupting in me” (Yann Martel, ​Life of Pi​. Vintage Canada, 2011, p. 135- 136 [all other quotes from this source]). The way Pi feels is understandable, he’s been hunting for food and survival it’s hard to see how he feels. The author is conveying that even in desperate times you can still have fun. Thirdly, Pi: “ If there hadn’t been the lifebuoy I wouldn’t have lasted a minute” (Yann Martel, ​Life of Pi​. Vintage Canada, 2011, p. 177 [all other quotes from this source]). It’s visible that Pi was struggling even after calling the prayer and calling out to god. He understands that the importance of survival is key by mentioning “ he wouldn’t have lasted a minute”. We can see that there are many aspects of each of the themes such as religion, family, and self-reliance/ survival.

After reviewing all the evidence supported by the author, it is evident that Yann Martel, ​Life of Pi ​has shown the readers the importance of survival. As we see ​ Pi learns that survival requires sacrifice while living a full life hinges on one’s ability to withstand the aspects of religion, family, and self-reliance/survival. Therefore, the author has achieved a heightened understanding of survival through the evidence shown above.

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