Convert: “to change (something) into a different form or property; transmute; transform.”
“When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves.” This excerpt by Austrian psychologist and Holocaust Survivor Viktor E. Frankl describes the very essence of the Life of Pi. Piscine Molitor Patel is burdened with this idea of change and, as a result, is forced to completely alter his way of life. He adopts a new religion of survival; one with no limits or boundaries, only desperation to prosper. Pi undergoes a transformation that mimics a religious conversion to savagery during his time in unintended exile.
Primary instances of Pi’s religious alteration is discovered in his relinquish of vegetarianism and adoption of, at least in the latter story, cannibalism. He begins to worship the taste of flesh, pray for water and food, and even implicates himself as an observant God of a city beneath him. To begin, Pi is able to take refuge in the basic necessity of survival and uses it as an optimal excuse for his savagery. He professes that when life is threatened, “…empathy is blunted by a terrible, selfish hunger for survival” (Martel 120). Pi casually talks about the cannibalism at the end of the novel very nonchalantly implying that the act was just a part of the practice he partook in, just as prayer is a part of religion. Author in Oxford Journals, Willem Kox, supports this idea in his essay Religious Conversion of Adolescents: Testing the Lofland and Stark Model of Religious Conversion, by stating that religion “liberates [adolescents] from entrapment in their own problems.” Pi is able to escape into the story he tells of savagery like one would escape in the s...
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...astaway religion during his time on the life boat with his shipwrecked mates.
There is plenty of evidence linking a claim of conversion to that of what Piscine Molitor Patel experienced at sea. Forced to adopt principles that conflicted with his current beliefs, Pi detaches himself from his other religions in an exception only acceptable for his circumstance. As a result, he endures an alteration that imitates an adoption of savagery as a religion during his inadvertent exile. Pi concedes that he “survived by making a point of forgetting,” everything, including religion (Martel 191). While Pi was forever changed by the events he may only know the truth of, he did what was necessary to survive and conquered misfortune. As theologian Albert Schweitzer proclaimed, “One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity.”
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