Life of Pi, Shutter Island Essay

Life of Pi, Shutter Island Essay

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Have you ever wondered what is it like to be insane? We often take our mental health for granted, but the novel Life of Pi as well as the movie Shutter Island encourage us to look deeper within ourselves and to truly be grateful for the fact that we—most of us—are mentally stable. That is just one idea that these two works explore. What are they exactly about though? Life of Pi, a novel by Yann Martel published in 2001, is about a sixteen-year-old Indian boy named Piscine Molitor Patel who experienced a horrendous shipwreck. Shutter Island, a movie directed by Martin Scorsese from 2010, on the other hand, is about a man named Andrew Laeddis who experienced his own traumatic event. Both of these works touch upon the ideas of alter ego, the juxtaposition between reality and fantasy, and sanity, as was previously mentioned. Two of these ideas are similar between the novel and the movie while one of them is different between the two works. We can now go into greater detail for each of the themes.
The first theme that is common to both Life of Pi and Shutter Island is the theme of alter ego. Both of the main characters in each work created an alter ego for themselves. In Life of Pi, Piscine’s alter ego was a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker, who lived in the Pondicherry Zoo which Piscine’s father ran until the Patel family decided to move to Canada. This was not evident during the course of the novel, but it became clear to the readers at the very end of the book when Piscine, also known as Pi, conversed with officials from the Maritime Department in the Japanese Ministry of Transport. After Pi told the officials two varying stories of how he survived 227 days at sea, Mr. Tomohiro Okamoto and Mr. Atsuro Chiba exclaimed th...


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...nclusion, the novel Life of Pi written by Yann Martel and the movie Shutter Island directed by Martin Scorsese share many similarities as well as a few differences. These two works are hauntingly similar in a multitude of ways, but three stand-out themes that are common between the works are the themes of alter ego, fantasy versus reality, and sanity. Alter egos may be created by anyone and everyone. The same thing goes for fantasies. We all dream about following certain careers and achieving great things in life. In the end, it all comes down to sanity. Do we incorporate alter egos and fantasies into our lives in a sane manner or are we on the verge of letting our fantasies take control of our lives and make us insane?



Works Cited

Martel, Yann. Life of Pi. Canada: Vintage Canada, 2002. Print.

Shutter Island. Dir. Martin Scorsese. Phoenix Pictures, 2010. DVD.


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