Essay Irrelevance of Reality in Life of Pi by Yann Mantel

Essay Irrelevance of Reality in Life of Pi by Yann Mantel

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What is truth? How visible must be the line between facts and one’s mind’s interference? Does it matter at all? Whatever synopsis of Yann Martel’s novel Life of Pi claims on the back of the book, the story it contains does not focus on God, but rather on the author’s theory about irrelevance of reality, if someone comes up with a more interesting story. In a nutshell, everything is just a story, as simple as that. And if it is a well-crafted one, then it should be more preferable than reality. That is why Martel leaves us not believing in any kind of gods, but for substitution suggests that people should embrace religion or any fiction just because those are so colorful and enriching, regardless of their relation to scientific knowledge. Who would want to listen to “dry, yeastless factuality”, if it does not fit in to cozy chat in front of a fire-place (Martel 302)? Well, I would, as anybody reasonable and mature enough to deal with life as it is and not hiding under warm, fuzzy blanket of pathetic lies. Truth is truth, and it does matter.
The author’s lack of understanding such a simple fact is the reason of both his ignorance and my frustration. What he thought was a clever twist, was in fact a push for me to groan and throw his book at the wall, because it turned out, that I invested my spare time into reading 292 pages of something Pi actually made up for the sake of sanity. Did not I gain anything from his hallucinations? Absolutely: I was almost crying at Richard Parker’s desperate struggle to survive and his conciliation with this young boy, as blind and starving as himself. But when Martel takes away the Bengal tiger, what am I left with? A little liar, who is definitely not as appealing as any mentioned animal, including ...


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...ly interrupts: “Oh, yeah, by the way, everything was fake. Hyena is the cook, orangutan is Pi’s mother, zebra is Happy Buddhist and Richard Parker is Pi himself. So, which story do you like more?” Should we stick to magical tale, even if it is one giant lie? Should we go with more boring and plain story, which actually follows rules of reality? Finishing on a such cowardly note, Martel does not notice that his Pi is more immobile than any agnostic, as we are stuck not knowing anything about the end and wondering about the overall purpose of the novel. At least, agnostics acknowledge not having all answers and leave their minds opened for anything presented to them. That is far more honest than being lazy and saying that we should look for “the better story”, since there is no difference anyway. Because there is: it does not make a good story out of Martel’s own one.

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