An Analysis of the Life of Pi, a Movie Directed by Ang Lee

The movie Life of Pi, directed by Ang Lee and released in 2012, tells the story of a tragic and magical adventure of a boy named Pi Patel and a tiger. When Pi’s family decided to sell their zoo and move to Canada from India, they embark on a trip at see. During a storm, the ship wrecks, leaving Pi to be the only one of his family surviving. He ends up stranded in a lifeboat with four animals, who all die, except for one – a tiger. Life of Pi tells the story of the two fighting to survive and the struggle between them as well as the struggle within each of them.

Although Life of Pi is seen as a fictional story, it confronts many issues and ideas that are seen throughout life. It portrays the true nature of both humans and animals, it confronts struggles with faith and religion, and it represents the idea of “there are two sides to every story”. From the beginning of the story, we are exposed to not only the true nature of humans, but the true nature of animals as well. Early in the movie, Pi’s dad forces Pi and his older brother to watch A tiger, the tiger that Pi later gets stuck on a boat with, kill and eat a goat. Pi gets caught trying to feed the tiger by his father so his father finds it necessary to demonstrate the true nature of this creature and to teach Pi that no matter how badly he wants the tiger and the human to be friends, it will never happen because of the nature of both species.

This nature of the tiger is continuously demonstrated throughout the entire time Pi and the tiger spend on the boat. As soon as the tiger sees Pi, he attempts, and fails, to attack him. He makes it extremely clear that Pi is not welcome on the boat and will NOT cooperate unless Pi is using food as a reward system. Felines are naturally selfish and independent, and the Tiger is the king of Felines. They rarely interact with other creatures, even their own species. Their main concern is the survival of themselves. This is seen in humans as well but humans also possess compassion. When the Tiger leaves the boat to hunt for a meal, he struggles to get back on the boat. Despite the aggression that the tiger had towards Pi from the moment they entered the boat, Pi still feels sympathy and helps to get him back on.

This demonstrates human nature. Humans are seen as extremely selfish, which they can be, but humans do not want to see other living creatures die. They will do a lot to help those around them and Pi demonstrates this by creating a system to get the tiger back on the boat safely. Both human nature and the nature of the animal are shown when the lifeboat eventually reaches shore. The tiger immediately runs away but stops before he enters the forest. Pi is almost certain the tiger is going to turn around and acknowledge him in some way, but he never does and because of that, Pi is extremely upset. This shows not only the compassion of humans but also the naivety that they possess. It also shows that no matter how long the tiger has spent with a human, he fails to feel a connection and still acts as completely independent. He is a wild animal and will follow his natural instinct no matter what.

Pi is conflicted with his spirituality while he is on the boat. Before he got stranded he practiced three religions: Hindu, Christianity, Islam. Seeing a person practice 3 religions at one time is not usually seen in today’s world. He grew up as a Hindu but as he got older he began to study other religions and felt connected to Christianity first and then Islam. He believed that there was a God and that he was great. Religion was Pi’s passion; something he could always go to and would always treat him well. When he becomes stranded on a boat with a wild animal for hundreds of days, his faith in God and religion is tested. Although it is never apparent that he has lost fate, he definitely begins to question himself and his religion. This represents the contraversy of religion in today’s world. There are countless types of religions and countless people practicing them. Some people love religion and some don’t believe in it.

This story represents the process of religion in the lives of some people. Everyone goes through a point in life of finding out who they really are and religion is a huge part of that. Many question religion as they go through this stage, whether they grew up in a certain religion or not. This is a stage in life of deeper thinking and much self-exploration. Questioning religion can be a huge part of that; “Is there a God?” “If there is a God, then why do bad things happen to good people?” The time that Pi spends on the boat represents this part of life that occurs for many people. He grew up with religion and something bad happened to him so he begins questioning God.

He asks himself why God would let this happen. A huge part of the plot of “Life of Pi” is what we see at the end of the Movie when Pi is in the hospital talking to news reporters. Although it is a short amount of the movie, it is extremely important to how one sees the story and perceives the entire time that Pi is stranded. He provides the two men with his story of the boat sinking and spending countless days with a vicious tiger and how he survived. The response of the reporters is basically, “We don’t believe you and no one else will”. They ask Pi for a more believable story So Pi immediately tells them a story of being stranded with not animals but people.

The people are his mother, the cook of the boat and an Asian sailor. This story is extremely violent and results in the Cook killing Pi’s mother and the sailor, then Pi killing the cook. Each person represents an animal from the original story, Pi and the tiger being parallels. As Pi lays in the hospital bed telling this story, he is extremely upset. Because of his overwhelming emotion and the connections between the humans in the second story and the animals in the original, it can be argued that the story with the humans is what really happened. It can be said that Pi made up the story with the animals so he didn’t have to deal with the reality of the horrible situation.

But the story with the animal can be argued for by saying that it was the entire story. We saw Pi experience the story with the tiger, making it more believable than the other story. This part of the plot goes with the common saying, “There are two sides to every story.” It is up to the person watching to decide which story he believes, like any story that someone hears. Life of Pi is an amazing story of the time Pi spent stranded on a lifeboat. Although the story demonstrated seems straightforward, there is so much more underneath it. It represents many issues and ideas throughout the life of Humans and Animals. It provokes deep thought and leads the watcher of the film to make decisions for themselves about the plot.

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