Free Essays

Life of Pi book

In the book, Life of Pi[1], Yann Martel proposes many religious differences, and similarities from religions located around the world. These questions ask such things as, is it possible to be a multi-religion person? Are all religions different? How are some religions the same? Life of Pi was written in 2002 and is a fascinating story of how a young man, Pi Patel, makes it in a world with his own personal beliefs. He adopts the three major religions of the world being Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam.Life of Pi is a very questioning book at times and has the capability of persuading nonbelievers to re-evaluate their religious thought process and beliefs. After reading this book you will be comfortable in the knowledge that you will have on other religions, and just may judge them differently. One of the questions that surfaces in this book is “can a person believe in more than one religion? ” The author uses the Christian, Islam, and Hindu religions all in one character to represent the different struggles that Pi Patel is facing within him self, just as animals were used as symbolic representation for people in the first story.

As for the question itself, a person cannot believe in more than one religion at a time. This is shown when the three holy men meet Pi in the park and they argue over his religious practices. While arguing Pi’s father reminds the three holy men that “there is freedom for practice of whatever religion in this country”[2]. The holy men screamed in unison, “Yes! Practice-singular”[3]. This point supports how even the three major holy religions of the world believe that you can only have one. However, it is possible for people to change religions throughout their lives.

As religions are faith based through personal convictions that come from within, you have purpose in what you believe, and therefore are only able to believe in one at a time. To say you believe in Christianity and Hinduism would be like saying you are both a communist and a progressive conservative, which are different philosophies. You have to choose one religion or another, just as in this story you need to believe the first story or the second story, and you cannot believe that both of these events occurred. A person cannot believe two tales of the same legend.

The second story with people resembles culture within North America and how everything in the North American world is looked at as bare facts. Most people only believe things that they can see with there own eyes, or feel with there own hands. Starting from our education as children, to jobs in adulthood, knowledge of bare facts measures how much we are capable of doing. In math you add numbers that have relevance to our society, in science pre-determined experiments with actions or re-actions occur, as well as predictions and conclusions. Everything MUST have an answer.

If there is a topic to which we do not have an answer we dig for scientific answers, and refuse to accept folk tales or stories from higher powers. In an area of the world with steadily declining religious numbers[4], we need to exercise our faith and imaginations. We all need to have an open and searching mind like that of a younger child. Pi Patel shows just how blunt and “factual”[5] North America people are by telling the second story, including the murder of people on a lifeboat. Murder is something we can all relate to, thus making the second story “the right story”[6] to most people.

After the second story of realism, many people feel the first story to be a waste of time, showing again just how North American people struggle to explore the imaginative or symbolic side of things. Everybody justifies their respective view by saying, “that’s not even possible”[7] or “I’d have to see it to believe it”[8]. The first and second story connects in a way of showing resemblances between the two major religions of the world, Christianity and Islam. The purpose of this is to show how alike Islam followers are to Christian followers.

They share most of the same religious views, with very minor differences in stories of interpretations. They also share many of the same characters, such as Jesus, who is God’s son. Jesus sends messages from God and heals people in Christianity, and in Islam a prophet shares the word of God. These two parts in the story show just how different the two religions are, yet are so similar. The first story also shows how, in the eastern world, the people are much more imaginative, by using Hindu and its animals to add a twist to create the first story.

It uses the animals to also describe the real people that were on the boat such as the Orangutan, Pi’s mother. In Hindu a person who is caring and involved in religious studies has the possibility of becoming a monkey after death[9]. Pi’s mom was a very caring person who was against the eating of the zebra, or the young sailor. A zebra is looked at as an honest, friendly, and creative person because of his stripes[10]. By using these animals he is trying to show just how North American culture is so bare factual. This story parallels our own personal internal struggles as well as the struggles of different cultures and religions in the world.

We begin to understand we have to ultimately face and deal with our own struggles, allowing us to come to terms with our own beliefs, where we are at in our own lives and how we fit into our culture. This story could be interpreted with different meanings by different people, but ultimately causes the kind of thought that moves us forward in terms of who we will become. The purpose of this story is to show the similarities of some religions, and also to show that the things that are different, are not so different after all. This is a book attempting to change minds on religious discrimination and indifferences.