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Discovery In Life Of Pi

Decent Essays
How are characters and their ways of thinking shaped by the consequences of Discovery?
Discoveries present characters with experiences that alter current pre-existing views of the world. In the film ‘Life of Pi’ directed by Ang Lee, Pi, the protagonist, undergoes physical and emotional adversities, challenging him to personally determine his worldviews and his standing as a human being in a wondrous yet destructive world. In the novella ‘Heart of Darkness’ by Joseph Conrad, Marlow, the speaker of the inner story of the frame story, recounts a journey with the Company (a Belgian trading company) through the Congo River, witnessing the brutality of European imperialism against native Africans. In the two texts, characters and their ways of thinking
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For example, in ‘Life of Pi’, Pi’s views of nature are radically changed when he is exposed to the inhumanity of Richard Parker. In the scene where his father offers a goat to Richard Parker, his father affirms the inhumanity of the tiger, stating “That tiger, is not your friend”. The phrase is separated into two shots (as indicated by the comma): the first as a medium shot facing him from the side, then then second as a close up facing him directly from the front. The use of changing shots from one of weak modality to strong modality emphasises the importance of the ‘scarring’ lesson Pi’s father wishes to teach him. As a result, Pi is exposed to the viciousness of himself and of nature, no long holding onto the wonders of religion as the only way of understanding it, but now also his own confronting personal observations. Similarly, in ‘Heart of Darkness’, Marlow is shocked as he comes to comprehend the impact of technologically-advanced European traders on vulnerable and exploitable native Africans. The ‘Accountant’ (an employee of the Company) symbolises the heartlessness of European imperialism: the pursuit of wealth at the cost of natives’ quality of life. This is seen when a sick man enters his hut, and in annoyance he insensitively complains that it is “difficult to guard against clerical errors in this climate”. Marlow’s discovery of the true nature of European imperialism disproves his preconceived belief that the ‘bringing of civilisation’ to natives is an act of good, but rather an act of evil. In the two texts, there is a transformation in the way characters view the world around them once they are confronted with the horrors of
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