Life of Pi: The Quest for “the better Story”
Life of Pi (2001), is the Man Booker Prize winning novel of Yann Martel (1963- ), Spanish-born Canadian author who is still to prove that he is not a one-novel wonder. Much of Martel’s work is marked by religious content or overtones and Life of Pi is no exception. By the time he began researching what would become Life of Pi, “he was just fed up of being reasonable. It’s a waste of life to be nothing but reasonable. If you do that, you strip away everything marvelous in life…To me faith is the better story” (Posner). Life of Pi, accordingly, is a literary vision of interfaith harmony. As the critic P.K. Foster opines, “He acquires layer after layer of diverse spirituality and brilliantly synthesizes it into a personal belief system and devotional life that is breathtaking in its depth and scope. His youthful exploration into comparative religion culminates in a magnificent epiphany of sorts”(Foster).
In a 2002 interview Martel revealed his inspiration for his novel, "I was sort of looking for a story, not only with a small ‘s’ but sort of with a capital 'S' – something that would direct my life."So, what is it that makes the novel a ‘better Story’ with a capital ‘S’?
The end is where we start from. The novel Life of Pi ends with the verbatim transcript of a copy of the tape and the final report of the Japanese representatives of the Oika Shipping Company, the owner of the cargo ship Tsimtsum. It is an interview of Pi, the sole survivor of the ship. Pi relates to them “what really happened” but they find it “too hard to believe” .So, Pi retells the story. He substitutes his mother for the orangutan(Orange Juice),a Chinese sailor for the broken legged zebra, a barbarous French cook for the hyena, and himself for the tiger(Richard Parker).But when Pi asks them “Which is the better story, the story with animals or the story without animals?”,they find ”The story with animals a better story”. Pi says, “Thank...