Imaginative Journeys - Life of Pi and Coleridge Essay

578 WordsJun 3, 20083 Pages
Journeys, whether physical, inner or imaginative, play a significant role in one’s learning and growth. The process and the change as a result, is more important than the actual destination of the journey itself. In particular, the imagination is a powerful tool that we possess, and through imagination, inspiration and speculation, it can lead to a change of perspective. Life of Pi is a novel by Yann Martel that explores the imaginative journey and its significance in Pi’s learning and growth. This novel in its entirety emphasises the difference between facts and imagination. One of the most important quotes in the novel is, “the agnostic ... if he stays beholden to dry, yeastless factuality ... to the very end, [will] lack imagination and miss the better story.” The juxtaposition of “dry, yeastless factuality” with “the better story” is repeated numerous times, and fantastical descriptions are utilised to emphasise this dichotomy. It criticises those who do not believe in imagination, or do not have faith to believe in something. Without stories, religion and imagination, our existence becomes ‘dry and yeastless’. As Pi has embraced speculation and imagination since childhood, he has added meaning and dimension to his life. His version of reality has been made less horrible by his imagination, enabling him to stay alive and to grow as a person throughout his journey. It is suggested that he has made up his entire survival story, replacing humans with animals, as a way to cope with the shocking series of factual events. This novel reveals that our capacity for imagination and invention is a mechanism for self-preservation. This ultimately helps Pi grow in his maturity, changes his perspective on life and to understanding universal truths. As Pi says when he reaches the depths of his despair, “The lower you are, the higher your mind will want to soar.”

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