Life of Pi?

fig jamfig jam Posts: 2,555Registered Users
Has anyone read "Life of Pi"? I finished it recently, and was oddly moved by it.
"Tell me, are you incapable of restraining yourself, or do you take pride in being an insufferable know-it-all?"

"Honey Badger don't care!"

Comments

  • Summer91Summer91 Posts: 265Registered Users
    fig jam wrote:
    Has anyone read "Life of Pi"? I finished it recently, and was oddly moved by it.

    I haven't read it, but have heard it was supposed to be very good. I read the summary of the book aawhile ago on Amazon and it didn't sounds like something I could get into. Something about a boat trip and being stranded with animals or something? lol I don't know. How would you describe it?
  • KurleeKurlee Posts: 1,354Registered Users
    I bought it but never seemed to be able to finish it...
    It might just not have been my kind of book.
    Did you find it slow in the beginning?

    /Jenny

  • L'n-zL'n-z Posts: 208Registered Users
    I loved it! I thought it was exciting. I was so disappointed when someone was explaing the end to me and how *that* is what happened. I don't want to believe that. I want to believe Pi's version.
    8)
  • AmbrosiaAmbrosia Posts: 60Registered Users
    i recently finished this book. i thought it was great, yet dehumanizing in many ways.

    the end, the alternative ending is there to push you to wonder which way of thinking you fancy and ascribe to. i dont think the author meant to give one ending as what actually happened and the other as what did not happen. i think the other ending is there to let the reader contemplate an alternative interpretation of the events on the book.

    i particularly like the book because the author pushes the reader to get involved, pushes the reader to figure out something about himself. what is your reality? and how is it different than how others would interpret it?

    additionally, he blurrs the line between human and animal in an interesting way. in the alternative ending, the animal characters are human characters. in the original story, really how different is the boy than the tiger? the boy easily becomes less humane and therefore more animal as he foregos his rigid diet rules and becomes a carnivore. i thought it was a gesture to how society can force people do act within societys expectations of what is acceptable for humans. leave humans and society and even a fragile vegetarian boy becomes an aggressive meat-eater.

    i thought it was a very good book. about much more than a tiger and a boy trying to be rescued.
  • fig jamfig jam Posts: 2,555Registered Users
    My goodness, I had forgotten that I'd started this thread last fall!

    I really need to re-read the book again. I agree with what Ambrosia is saying about the purpose of the alternative ending. I must clearly prefer the first reality, because I felt sad while reading the alternative. I would like to think about what that means. I felt a real sense of loss when Richard Parker went out of Pi's life, without looking back.

    Richard Parker was very real to me -- in part because of the author's talent for description, and in part because of my knowledge of animal behavior. I can't say I have any intimate acquaintance with tigers, but the book appealed to my interests in behavior and in the "alternative" ways of viewing life that animals can provoke in our imaginations.

    I was also very intrigued by the way Pi characterized and integrated the different religions.

    If you'll be patient with me, I shall re-read the book and (I hope) add to the discussion in more thoughtful ways.

    Ambrosia, how did you find the book dehumanizing? (Unless you were just referring to what you wrote about the ways Pi himself became more animal-like . . . I originally took your comment to mean that the book had a dehumanizing effect on you in some way, but that's probably not what you meant at all!)
    "Tell me, are you incapable of restraining yourself, or do you take pride in being an insufferable know-it-all?"

    "Honey Badger don't care!"
  • AmbrosiaAmbrosia Posts: 60Registered Users
    fig jam wrote:
    Ambrosia, how did you find the book dehumanizing? (Unless you were just referring to what you wrote about the ways Pi himself became more animal-like . . . I originally took your comment to mean that the book had a dehumanizing effect on you in some way, but that's probably not what you meant at all!)


    I thought the author dehumanized Pi...and in doing so pushes the reader to venture out of a comfort zone. Martel deprives Pi of human qualities, such as compassion and civility, in a manner very opposite of Pi's personality on dry ground. Additionally, because the author so fluidly and convincingly stripes Pi of some of the most essential qualities that separate man from animal, it pushed me, as the reader, to realize how easily any human, even I, can become animalistic. ...a thought that does not set too well with me...and perhaps not too many others enveloped in modern civilized cultures. These elements of the book I found rather dark.
  • fig jamfig jam Posts: 2,555Registered Users
    Yes, I see what you mean. I am definitely going to reread with your comments in mind.

    For some reason, that wasn't the theme that caught my attention as much, but it was a strong current in the book. It is an idea that makes me uncomfortable emotionally but that I think I have long accepted (or at least realized) intellectually -- that given the right set of circumstances (extreme as those might need to be) we are capable of almost anything.

    Pi is so touchingly human on "dry ground," as you say, that I think I never lost sight of that element in him. But as I reread it from this new approach, I think I will pick up on his dehumanization more acutely. For some reason, the passages about the floating island come to mind.
    "Tell me, are you incapable of restraining yourself, or do you take pride in being an insufferable know-it-all?"

    "Honey Badger don't care!"
  • AmbrosiaAmbrosia Posts: 60Registered Users
    fig jam wrote:
    For some reason, the passages about the floating island come to mind.

    those chapters, where he is on the floating island, are definitely some of the most interesting parts of the book. the island seems so pure and harmonious (no animals are killed, no bloodshed, only meek creatures everywhere)....but when Pi discovered the teeth wrapped up in the leaves, :shock: i was completely thrown off. a seemingly peaceful and nonviolent island is in fact the exact opposite!! the rest of the story moves along very incrementally, but this part threw me for a loop.
  • fig jamfig jam Posts: 2,555Registered Users
    Yes! At first I found the island interlude jarring (even before the discovery of the teeth) -- a sudden change in tempo and mood. The real loss of innocence seems clearest to me here in this Garden of Eden scenario. The thing you feed on, feeds on you . . .
    "Tell me, are you incapable of restraining yourself, or do you take pride in being an insufferable know-it-all?"

    "Honey Badger don't care!"

Leave a Comment

BoldItalicStrikethroughOrdered listUnordered list
Emoji
Image
Align leftAlign centerAlign rightToggle HTML viewToggle full pageToggle lights
Drop image/file