Life Of Pi Rhetorical Analysis

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Loving God In his novel, Life of Pi, Yann Martel presents readers with the seemingly unbelievable story of Piscine Patel, a young Indian boy on a journey toward spiritual enlightenment. In his own words, his end goal is to “just love God” (Martel 69). He ends up adrift in the middle of the great Pacific Ocean with a Royal Bengal Tiger for 227 days and miraculously manages to survive. Through his use of irrationalities and a range of religious elements from different religious faiths, including symbols and metaphorical meanings, Martel creates a fantastical atmosphere and nature that “will make you believe in God” (Martel p. x). Life of Pi is overflowing in irrational nuances almost from the start. Piscine states very clearly on page 8 that…show more content…
The most obvious references in the novel are to the Christian, Muslim and Hindu faiths; but there are also underlying currents of Judaism, Numerology and a basic faith in a God. Martel utilizes his knowledge of the Jewish faith when he named the ship the Tsimtsum. The word Tsimtum comes from the sixteenth century founder of Kabbalistic thought named Arizal and translates to “God’s leaving” or “God’s consolidation”. The term is used to describe Arizal’s thought on the creation of the world and God’s involvement in it. According to this school of thought, God is everything and there is nothing without God: He is infinite and we are finite He has to “hide” or “shrink” himself so that humans may continue to exist. But, in this hidden state, God still provides evidence of Himself and gives people the choice as to whether they see and accept Him and live in the ultimate “Nirvana” or ignore him and live in a godless “reality”. The background and Jewish mystical meaning behind the word Tsimtsum, seems to imply that everyone has the choice to see only the pain and suffering in the world or to see the beauty of the Creator and the deeper meaning behind everything. Just as Pi has the choice after the sinking of the ship to let the grief of losing his entire family over take him and turn away from God, or rely on God to bring him…show more content…
The island represents life without God. Though Pi remains diligent throughout his most of his plight, there are a few instances where he begins to doubt and get angry at God. The island is a parallel to life without God in the sense that there is life and structure, but that nothing is as it seems and everything is ultimately meaningless. The island seems to be paradise, a hedonistic refuge of nourishment and protection, heaven on Earth. But once the sun begins to set, the reader realizes that Pi is actually at the gates of Hell. Everything on the island seemed perfect to Pi, like God’s ultimate gift and yet when the darkness settled he realized just how vulnerable and unprotected he was. Pi soon concludes that he and Richard Parker cannot safely stay on the island and he leaves. His physical departure parallels his epiphany that he cannot live without God and returns to him whole heartedly, his faith stronger than ever. The island represents the sinful nature that we have without God in the sense that it offers anything Pi and Richard Parker could need, food, water, and shelter, yet the island is carnivorous and has already claimed at least one victim as Pi discovers in the flower in the tree. This mirrors the idea that though one can achieve almost anything and everything they want through sin, it comes at a price. That price can be either physical or

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