Life of Pi - English practice essay

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‘Life of Pi shows us that it is not what happens to us but the way we approach obstacles that is the measure of a human being’. Do you agree?

‘In the throws of unremitting suffering’ Pi’s pragmatic approach to not only survival, but life even after his journey compels the reader to embrace the hardships that life hands us. The boy’s insightful divinity regarding his faith imparts a sense that obstacles can be conquered when approached with an open mind. Pi’s undying affection for his three religions is not only potent in proving that belief is a strength that will welcome optimism, but also suggests the benefits of the existence that faith has. As pi conquers the treacherous Pacific for 227 days, his ability to believe in stories and create his own, acts as a saviour for his mental state. Whether or not Richard Parker is real, Pi’s refusal to ‘stumble at mere believability’ highlights the difference that perspective can make. Similarly, as Pi survives as a castaway, he tames Richard Parker and ultimately succeeds in saving both lives, permeating the importance of the human ability to overcome even the most dire conditions.

The way that Pi unwaveringly holds his faith in ‘Jesus Mary Muhammed and Vishnu’ largely affects his sense of validity and purpose while fighting to save his life. By wilfully continuing to battle against the threat of death, his stronghold for belief directs his ‘fierce will to live’. Despite Pi’s horrendous circumstances and experience even after his journey, he still maintains his belief in religion and a divine presence. While Pi loses his entire family and even descends to ‘a level of savagery’ as a survival mechanism, he constantly maintains a level of faith, ‘turn[ing] to God’. The young boy’s ability to trust in a higher power aids him in the fight for sustainability and life itself. Contrasted with the relentless Mr Chiba and Mr Okamoto, Pi’s blind acceptance of God allows him to comprehend the notion of a ‘miracle’ such as Richard Parker, unlike the rigidity and literalisms of the Japanese businessmen.

In a similar vein, Pi’s fascination with stories and the relentless search for the ‘better story’ illuminates the importance of a human’s reaction to a circumstance rather than just the situation itself. Despite the ambiguity of Richard Parker’s veracity and the question of reality or imagination, Pi still manages to propel his survival mentally with his passion for the unknown and possibility. Unlike the animals in Pi’s life, notably those at the Pondicherry Zoo, the boy is able to soothe his own loss and gain a presence of mind with the comfort of his own story telling. ‘In both stories’ Pi relates that he suffers and his ‘entire family dies’, however in the version in which Richard Parker lives, Pi has a companion and a distraction from the ‘vast loneliness’ of his circumstance. Even as the truthfulness of his animal based version is contested, the traumatic aspects of Pi’s voyage are erased by the impact that his storytelling plays during his fight for survival.

Additionally, Pi’s productive approach to his terrifying reality pervades the human ability to overcome the difficulties that life embodies. Stuck in a tiny lifeboat, with or without a tiger, Pi still manages to ‘fight and fight and fight’. In the story in which Parker exists Pi stares inevitable death ‘dead in the eyes’ and wills himself to continue fighting against the wrath of the Pacific. The manner which Pi embraces his reality encourages the strength of the human form, notably important when Pi ‘made a point of forgetting’ and simply focusing on his ability to continue living. Furthermore, the fact that Pi manages to tame the ambivalent character of Richard Parker highlights his strength of persona to do anything as a manner of ultimate success. Finally while Pi adopts the animalistic qualities of his ‘life boat pest’ he still maintains the essence of good humanity, instilling the courageous boy with the ability to sacrifice in order to survive while still staying true to himself.

The brave approach to near death, depicted in Pi’s behaviour infers a sense that it is possible t o survive anything with the correct perspective. Being subjected to such unrelenting circumstances and still maintaining a functioning personality, obvious in Pi’s survival relates to the engrained strength a human can adopt in times of hardship, with it be through belief, imagination or a mere strength of mind.

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