Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Let's Talk about LIFE OF PI!!!!


OK...I can't wait any longer. I need to know what you guys(those of you who have finished the book) think. So let's discuss it. In order to not spoil it for those of you who haven't finished, I thought I would ask some questions in the comments. I would love to get your take on it!

13 comments:

Andrea said...

So what do you think happened?
Which story is real?
What do you think the author is trying to tell us?
If you believe the second story...then how do you explain the meercat bones found in the boat?

That's a good start - it will get us going. Give me your take!

Brittanie said...

I totally think he sailed with the tiger!! What do you think?!

Menghinifamily said...

I almost found the second story less realistic than the first. And if the second story is true, then what on earth would all the island/meercat stuff really mean? Or even have to do with it?

Andrea said...

I know...I need some clarity!

benseyleb (really just lynsey is typing) said...

ok so i agree with the majority...i think that it was the first story with the tiger too. i thought the ending was cool though, a nice twist. but i think part of it is my hope that humanity isn't really as disgusting as story #2 makes us sound. but with story #1...who let out the animals? why would they do that? was it his dad? why didn't he survive? did he stay too long down to free the animals? i was sad when the tiger just took off at the end without even a lick on the cheek as a goodbye & thank you for saving his life. i know it's not possible but like pi, i guess i just needed some closure. they'd been through a lot together.

Andrea said...

So what do you guys think the algae island was...did it really exist? If it didn't what did it represent? I read somewhere that it was Pi's conscience and guilt eating at him...but that only applies if you believe story #2. I need Mr. Martel to come to my house and have a little discussion with me!

Lauren said...

Here's something to chew on, ladies. In the intro. it states "this story will make you believe in God." This quote has nagged at me as I have pondered the meaning of this book. I think that Tiger story is the truth. It requires us to make a leap of faith and believe in something that seems unbelievable. There are "miraculous" elements to the Tiger story, just as there are miracles in religion that ask us to trust in the storyteller and not in our tiny view of "reality".
Furthermore, in my discussion with others on this book, I've found that many tend to overlook or downplay the importance of the first half of the book (before the shipwreck). But I think Martel was making a bold statement about the religious wars that have always and continue to tear apart our world. At heart, all religions are the same. They connect us to a Higher power, which inspires us to do good. There are members of all religions that will twist that and use it for evil (control, power, etc.). But the pure in heart are one. We all make that leap of faith in the belief that we are part of something infinitely bigger than us, yet infinitely personal. And we can be united in that faith, instead of divided. I thought that was just one of the beautiful messages of the book.

Menghinifamily said...

I would agree with everything that has been said. I was also thinking on how he kept asking which was the better story. Of course the first story, and then he said that we all want to believe the first story. So I guess he is saying that everyone, even those who don't believe in God for logic reasons, really do want to believe. Deep down we all want to believe there is a God watching out for us and that there is purpose, even the strict atheist.

And if the tiger had licked him or something before leaving, while sweet, would make the story more unbelievable because he wasn't a pet. And its not like the tiger knew he wasn't going to see the boy again- they had been on an island before and still been together. I just tell myself the tiger didn't know it was goodbye.

Andrea said...

I completely agree with you about the quote, " this is a book that will make you believe in God." That was the first thing I asked myself when I finished the book. In order to believe in Pi's story you have to believe something that has never been seen before. You have to accept things (ie: algae island or french man in the boat who tried to eat him or the meercats) that border on the impossible. But in believing the second story you don't have to stretch as far. We have all seen man lower himself to animal at times in their lives. Although disgusting, we know that terrible things like murder and cannibalism happen and so that story isn't difficult to believe. My question is...Is he trying to tell us that believing in Religion is choosing the better story, choosing to believe in something that makes us happier but not necessarily true? On a lot of message boards I came across the readers were saying that the author is telling us that religion is choosing to believe something that makes reality more beautiful and and happier but not necessarily the TRUE story. That wasn't my take on it but I was wondering what you all think?

benseyleb (really just lynsey is typing) said...

ps-i was totally joking about the tiger licking him. just to make sure everybody doesn't think i'm a botard!

Lauren said...

Andrea - I have been discussing that exact issue with a friend of mine! I think the only way to divinate the answer is to determine the author's intent as he wrote the story. Did Martel write this book with a clear picture in mind of which story was actually real? Because if he did, then we can follow only two trains of thought.

1. The author wrote Pi knowing all along that the animals weren't real. And yet he clearly makes a case for it being the "better story" because it uplifts us and gives us hope and peace. In that case, he is making a Marxist statement here: "Religion is the opiate of the people". Or, religion, though not the truth, is a good thing simply because it makes us feel better about our world. That a beautiful lie is better than the ugly truth. But, at the core, religion is just a pretty story.

OR

2. The author wrote Pi with the belief that the Tiger story is the truth and also the "better story" because it forces us to make leaps of faith and consider deeply our own relationship with the Divine.

I choose to believe #2, based almost solely on that quote "this is a book that will make you believe in God". I don't think he would have said such a thing and written such a deeply spiritual book if he truly believed that religion was better, but untrue.

If you can believe it, the analysis here gets even deeper. I'm currently arguing via email with my friend about whether the existence of "one true church" means that all other religions are deluding themselves. It's intellectually draining, let me tell you!

Menghinifamily said...

well, I was looking online and I can't find anywhere that it says yann martel is religious. It said he studied religious texts for a year so he could write the life of pi. If he is not religious, than I think we are going to have to assume that he is saying religion is a good story but possibly not true. But it is possible he is religious but just keeps it underwraps.

But it also said that he studied cast away stories too so that he could make the first story based on fact. He wanted it to be something that could be possible...

Pretty much I have no idea...

An said...

Couldn't the first story be true, and Pi himself being this boy and tiger together? He imagines he has a companion to be able to survive the trip, and once he's back on land, the tiger is not necesary any more, and he leaves him?