life of pie Essay

Submitted By 81962014
Words: 835
Pages: 4

“The Life of Pi” is a highly esteemed novel that has reached out to touch the hearts of millions, but some question its literary integrity. If one questions whether this great novel is literature or not, one must first question if they truly grasp the concept of literature. In each novel that we consider “literature”, we find what are known as literary elements. Some examples of these are symbolism, foreshadowing, and themes. These are elements that can be found in “The Life of Pi”. In chapter 90, Pi is struck with blindness and is extremely relieved when he finds another castaway in the ocean, but Pi’s relief turns to terror when the castaway tries to kill and eat him. Pi’s only salvation is when Richard Parker (a Bengal tiger who is Pi’s companion on the raft) attacks the castaway. In a later part of the book, Pi and Richard Parker find land after days at sea. During their exploration of the island Pi finds fruit…but there is something stranger about it. The fruit seems to have human teeth in it. Pi comes to the conclusion that the island is eating people and the two flee back into the ocean. These two passages from the novel are examples of symbolism. They both explain how what we originally find comfort in can be hazardous, and that which we fear can be our salvation. Pi is relieved to find the castaway, but he is then attacked. Richard Parker (whom originally terrified Pi) is the only one who was able to save Pi’s life. The same idea applies to the island. Pi is ecstatic when he finds land because to him land means safety. Pi later learns that the island is dangerous and his only rescue is the ocean which frightens him. One of the novel’s main themes is the struggle to live and what we as well as many species will do to survive. One example of this is Pi himself, who eats meat for the first time to survive. To most this would not seem like a particularly extreme sacrifice, except for the fact that Pi is a devout vegetarian. This act breaks his very morals as a person. An even bigger sacrifice that is present in this book is the act of Pi eating the excrement of Richard Parker in an attempt to simply provide a small amount of sustenance for his deteriorating body. This gruesome action shows how far mankind will go in order to live. Another theme of this novel is the taming of our fears. Richard Parker is a main key in the development of the entire story, and yet, he is a symbol of that which man is afraid of. There is a scene where Pi catches a masked booby. As it is expected from a starving tiger, Richard Parker tries to get the dead bird. Pi and Richard have an intense stair down which leads to Richard standing down, thus proving Pi the alpha male and master. At the beginning of the shipwreck, Pi was so terrified of the tiger that he risked getting eaten by sharks, but now, he is able to look the beast dead in the eye and take charge. He has conquered his