Perhaps one of the most thought-provoking books of the past decade, “Life of Pi,” a book published in 2001 and written by Yann Martel, is a clear example of determination, passion and self-discovery.
That being said, this story is legitimately phenomenal, and here’s why. First, it will make you think. The basic story is of a young Indian boy who becomes trapped on a lifeboat with a 450-pound Bengal tiger. And if that doesn’t make you think, something is wrong with you (no debes fumar la mota!). But more than that, the principle story comes for me in the beginning of the book. In this novel, the main character Pi Patel, the son of a local zookeeper, is somehow able to embrace, study and practice the religions of Hinduism, Islam and Christianity.
You’re probably thinking, “Hold up gringo culiao, what?!” Yes, yes and…yes, everyone gets mad at him. The book speaks of Pi praying seven times a day, following the teachings of Mohammad, observing the rituals of the Hindi gods and being in love with Jesus Christ. How can this be possible? “Hell, what else is ther b’sides bein a baptist?” Truly, a great many things. Now I’m not saying I agree with Pi, but he indeed makes me think. Why do I believe what I believe? Can I express my beliefs well enough to others? Do I actually believe anything??? How is my belief that Crouch should retire defendable? These questions and more come out of this ridiculously engaging yarn.
Second, in this story, you will see metaphors in a whole new light. Perception is a funny thing. We all have our own personal understandings of the world, and the memories and experiences that have formed those understandings. However, think for a second of some different ways of seeing things. For example, sometimes I think of the administrative body of the college as a group of magikarp. They splash around quite a bit trying to positive things but don’t actually do anything at all. This book creates a different way of seeing things; it gives new perception and understanding to certain ideas and it creates a story through those understandings that changes our “beliefs.”
Third, it is a story of passion and determination. This is the story of a young man who survives 227 days on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. I’m not sure if you caught that, so I’ll say it again: this is the story of a young man who survives 227 days on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. Pi must fish for food, ration and collect water and survive, all the while living next to a vicious blood thirsty animal. No, not Angela Taylor, but a 450-pound Bengal tiger. He must learn the tiger’s habits, he must understand the ocean and the life within the ocean, he must learn to eat, to drink and to survive. His story makes us question ourselves. What would we do to survive?
I think that question is key to this story. To what lengths will we go to survive? What does it take to live through suffering? How can we go on when the world seems so unfair?
I think “Life of Pi” gives clear answers to these questions. Above anything else, the young man Pi has his faith, or faiths as it were. Pi, through his passion, his faith and his fervor for God, is able to live despite his circumstances. Stripped of everything, he holds to his faith and survives.
Finally, this story changes our thoughts on value. What has worth? “Ok, Sands Wise (I’m sure you readers are saying right now) calm it down.” But it is a legitimate question. Where do we put value? Is it in numbers, dollar signs, tuition prices, new residence halls? Sweet Jesus, I hope not. I could probably give you at least 27 reasons why that shouldn’t be the case.
Pi Patel, the protagonist of this story, finds value in things that we take for granted. To him, water becomes the most precious thing on earth, something that we waste to such degree. Everything changes. This book in my opinion truly is a work of art. One which I greatly endorse. (Oh man, this book must be awesome!) Yes, I know. “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel.