Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Life of Pi in 2001, Yann Martel authored the fantasy adventure novel, Life of Pl. It is a story about how the narrator and his family are transporting some of the animals from their zoo, when suddenly the ship sinks, and we see how the narrator succeeds in saving the three old adult Bengal tiger, Richard Parker. Throughout the novel Martel uses numerous references to religion, when he first spots Richard Parker he says “Jesus, Mary, Muhammad and Vishnu, how good to see you Richard Parker”.

The narrator also refers to his Mother as his “tender guardian angel of wisdom”. He says a prayer in line 16 when he asks “Vishnu preserve me, Allah protect me, Christ save me”. I think that this theme has been used by Martel to show how if you believe, then anything is possible. While many people do not believe in religion, this novel primer-illy focus on it and I believe that it is done to show that in your hour of need that; God, Allah and Vishnu will all be their to provide and assist you.

However the narrator may wish that they had not done so; as it turns out that after saving the creature that he has to throw himself overboard in order to prevent eing mauled by the tiger. Their is also a theme of irony in the novel. Throughout the whole novel until we are told otherwise, the reader preconceives Richard Parker for another human being; and then find out that he is a Bengal tiger. This is ironic as the narrator he helps Richard Parker as much as he can as he throws a lifebuoy to him and pulls him in, and he instructs him what to do when he is trying towards safety when he says ” One, Two.

One, Two. One, Two”. I believe that this is ironic as, at this point the narrator is not thinking clearly as too what he is doing, and his natural oodness (which can be referred back to religion) takes over him in order to help the tiger. If, as we first though, Richard Parker was a human being then their would of be no hesitation in assisting him to safety and getting him on board the life boat. However, with it being, a tiger, which is three years of age and therefore fully grown, the situation becomes different.

However, because of the fluctuation of the situation this is not taken into consideration by the narrator, and once the tiger is on board the severity of his gesture and assistance is realised, and results in one life spared for nother. Yann Martel uses a considerable amount of short simple sentences through out the duration of the novel. I believe that this may have been done in order to represent the magnitude of the situation. The opening sentence is “The ship sank”.

This, as well as being a simple sentence is a ice breaker in the novel, it immediately identifies the situation for the reader and Jumps out, so to speak. The paragraphs are also short and I think that this is also a representation, however this time of the waves, as the paragraphs Oust as a wave) are short, but full of energy. This means that they contain a prodigious amount of description and information in such a short period, and is almost thrown at you in one go unprepared.

However, in the five lines, the style of writing changes and there are two very complex sentences used, the tiger is descried as being “wet, trembling, nalt drowned, heaving and coughing” and when the narrator is confronted by the beast his actions are said to be that he “rose unsteadily to his feet on the tarpaulin, eyes blazing as they met mine, ears laid tight to his head, all weapons drawn. This is done as it slows down the situation and lets the reader takes in the austereness of it all, as we, Just like the narrator, have only Just realised who or what Richard Parker actually is.

In the novel, a pot-pourri of language. In the second sentence he says “”it made a sound like a monstrous metallic burp” when describing the sinking of the ship. In the same opening paragraph the rule of three and metaphor are used in the same way when “Everything was screaming: the sea, the wind, my heart”. Martel also uses two onomatopoeia such as “TREEEEE” and “HUMPF”. Alliteration is also used when the inking of the boat is described as “monstrous metallic”, and shortly afterwards repetition is used by Martel when the narrator cries “Richard Parker?

Richard Parker”, which is also a rhetorical question. We known there are at least three characters on board the life boat; The narrator, Richard Parker, and the zebra. However, as I mention earlier from my own research I discovered that the narrator and his family are transporting some of the animals from their zoo and it would therefore not be unreasonable to assume that their would be others on board. The narrator, although unnamed, comes across as a very aring but perhaps in this instance became to enthusiastic and got caught up in the situation.

Due to the big background of religion of associated with the narrator it is first instinct to help those in need, and the narrator is then willing to help that it somehow escapes him to realise that his rescuee is a tiger, who once saved is more than likely to eat him. The tiger himself, is a three year old adult Bengal bread, and is named Richard Parker. We do not really see things from the tigers point of view, but can tell by the elaborate descriptions of the surroundings that, with the assistance of he narrator they were fortunate to be rescued.

However, at the end of the novel when the tiger is safe on the life boat “his head was the size and the colour of the lifebuoy, with teeth” is the frightful description used, and because of this the narrator decides to throw himself overboard rather than risk staying with the lion. However, because of their intelligence to get to land, I believe that the tiger may not have harmed their saviour but attempted to thank them in whichever was applicable for them. The zebra has no involvement that we see.