Verisimilitude In Yann Martel's Life Of Pi

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Yann Martel’s novel Life of Pi, is in many ways a story about storytelling. In the book, a young boy named Pi recalls his long, treacherous journey through the ocean on an abandoned life boat. Using the literary technique of verisimilitude, Martel describes a fantastical journey full of exotic animals, dangerous encounters, and new found religion. In leaving the determination of what is true to the reader, Martel displays the importance of faith and storytelling to cover up the dry, exhausting reality, and shows that it is often within these fictional stories that a greater truth is discovered. Martel explores the concept of verisimilitude, or resemblance of a fictitious work to a real event, to explore the value of the “better story.” Over the course of the novel, Pi unveils his story to Mr. Okamoto and Mr. Chiba, two men who find him after his time at sea. After he finishes the tale, the men express their doubt over the validity of Pi’s story, citing the high improbability that he survived 227 days on a small life boat in the Pacific Ocean, accompanied by a tiger and hyena: “We’re just being reasonable” (297). Despite their lack of certainty over what transpired, the men refuse…show more content…
Following his time on the boat, Pi reflects on how horrendous the actual situation was: “His blood soothed my chapped hands… I ate his liver… He was such an evil man. Worse still, he met evil in me – selfishness, anger, ruthlessness. I must live with that” (314). The true story is too gruesome and haunting for Pi to face. Through the depiction of the other individuals on the lifeboat as humanlike animals, Pi is able to avoid confronting man’s capacity for evil. However, by representing man as a tiger with the emotionless capacity to kill, Pi conveys the truth in a manner that is less

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