Yann Martel published his Life of Pi in 2001. He came to Phoenix in 2004, and made several speeches. He said his goal was to entice people away from their pre-conceived ideas of the world. Yann Martel’s Life of Pi. Won Britain’s Booker Prize. Was our state’s 2004 One-Book Arizona.
He came to Phoenix in 2004, and made several speeches.
He said his goal was to entice people away from their pre-conceived ideas of the world.
In discussing prototype theory, Linguist George Lakoff points to two kinds of language: Straight and Playful, for which he uses the terms prototypical and marked.
Linguist Del Hymes has explained that Marked Language is used to communicate extra information about the Setting, Participants, Ends, Act-Sequences, Key (tone or mood), Instrumentalities (singing, chanting…), Norms (expectations), and Genres. Martel’s names are marked in that they carry “extra” information that lends power to the story.
Pi’s father was the manager of the Zoo in Pondicherry, India so we know that 16-year-old Pi has grown up with animals and knows a lot about them, but still as the story unfolds we have to engage in a “suspension of disbelief.
William Harmon and Hugh Holman define the “suspension of disbelief” as the willingness to withhold questions about truth, accuracy, or probability in a work. This willingness to suspend doubt makes possible the temporary acceptance of an author’s imaginative world. The Life of Pi is about this suspension of disbelief as defined by literary critics, and also as it might be used by religious scholars.
In school, Piscine had trouble with his strange name. Some people thought that he was an Indian Sikh by the name of “P. Singh.”
This lasted through all the years at St. Joseph’s elementary school.
π = 3.14
Pi wistfully explains: “Yes, they have tobacco in Canada—but do they have Gold Flake cigarettes? Do they have Arun ice cream? Are the bicycles Heroes? Are the televisions Onidas? Are the cars Ambassadors? Are the bookshops Higginbothams?”
Pi suddenly realizes that he does not want to share his future with Richard Parker even though Richard Parker is the only familiar thing Pi sees swimming in the water. Richard Parker is a 450 pound Bengal Tiger. By the time Pi comprehends what this means, he has already thrown out a life buoy and the tiger is pulling himself onto the boat, and so begins the “real” survival story.
Pi, tries to train Richard Parker so that they can share the lifeboat, but first he has to make himself a separate floating device, while he figures out an ingenious way to manage the training.
“The less I had to eat, the larger became the portions I dreamed of. My fantasy meals grew to be the size of India. A Ganges of Dhad soup. Hot chapattis the size of Rajasthan. Bowls of rice as big as Uttar Pradesh. Sambars to flood all of Tamil Nadu. Ice cream heaped as high as the Himalayas.”
He imagines what they are saying to each other:
“Oh! It’s that castaway with the pussy cat, Bamphoo was telling me about. Poor boy. Hope he has enough plankton. I must tell Mumphoo and Tomphoo and Stimphoo about him. I wonder if there isn’t a ship around I could alert. His mother would be very happy to see him again. Goodybye, my boy. I’ll try to help. My name’s Pimphoo.
And so through the grapevine, every whale of the Pacific knew of me” (p. 230).
At the end of the novel, Pi is using the pen and the notebook he found in the survival kit to take stock of what he has on the boat. Here is his list.
Screen Rant about Ending: