Matthew Temlett Grade 11 Life of Pi Essay A difficult path to a greater understanding of the universe and the world around us. A spiritual journey thrust upon a young and fragile child. In the novel Life of Pi we watch a fledgling boy as his life is taken from simple everyday corporeal voyage of living into a dismal and completely different state of affairs than he has ever experienced as he is thrown into the profound blue sea aboard a lonesome lifeboat.
His family missing and everything he has ever know gone he finds his only company coming from a zebra with a broken leg, a quirky orangutan, a vicious hyena and a mysterious yet influential Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. If we consider to what extent this novel is as a bildungsroman, we find that Life of Pi deals with the growth and change of Pi’s entity, spiritually and mentally. “The presence of God is the finest of rewards. ” As a child, he reads widely and embraces many religions and their rich narratives that provide meaning and dimension to life.
Pi’s belief in God inspires him as a child and helps sustain him while at sea, his lifeboat representing his faith. In Pondicherry, his atheistic biology teacher challenges his Hindu faith in God, making him realize the optimistic power of belief, the need to overcome the otherwise austerity of the universe. As Pi’s forlorn journey progresses we watch as he grows from this young boy into a curious teenager, however Pi’s true spiritual journey does not truly begin until he finds himself having to gradually mature and take care of himself as well as his alter allegory ego Richard Parker, a turning point where he develops independence. Solitude began. I turned to God. ” He never loses faith with God even as we see him take on a more animalistic persona as his days on the lifeboat escalate. His vegetarian lifestyle is washed down the drain as he has to learn to adapt and learn to survive. Upon arriving at the Algae Island Pi finds it to be his rescue and newfound paradise, what he does not know is that the island is carnivorous and in time it shall consume him.
The overall message of the chapter is that although religion (organized faith) can aid us and stabilize us and nourish us spiritually in the short term, it is not a viable long-term answer to our spiritual questions, and will ultimately kill us mentally and spiritually. Even though it would have been reasonable to stay on the island his perception and critical thinking changes thus he elects to leave and move on with his journey to civilization. “Reason is the very best tool kit. Nothing beats reason for keeping tigers away. But be excessively reasonable and you risk throwing out the universe with the bathwater. The traumatic survival experience that Pi endures is a great turning point in his life. Although he has lost his mother, his father and his brother, as well as everything he has ever known, he gains an enigmatic view on the universe and he becomes very wise. He survived 227 days and during those many hard days his perception, his view towards the universe and his entire life changed. We saw a young boy grow into a very wise and prevailing man. Overcoming time and fear has kept hope alive in Pi and has shown his coming-of-age, it has matured him and forced him to grow into the man he is at the beginning of the novel.