Life of Pi Symbolism Essay

877 Words Apr 20th, 2011 4 Pages
Dhami 1

Karanvir Dhami Ms. Yu ENG3U March 7, 2011 Symbolism in Life of Pi In Life of Pi there are many literary devices used to present the different themes in the novel. The main literary device used in Life of Pi is symbolism. Symbolism is often used to represent an object to something else, either by association or by resemblance. Most of the names of animals, objects and even humans in this novel have a symbolic meaning. In Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, symbolism such as pi’s name, the colour orange and the algae island, are used throughout the novel to provide Pi with protection to help him either survive or overcome his emotional pain. The mathematical pi is undefined, infinite and unable to be understood, just like Piscine Patel.
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The island can be compared to the Garden of Eden. Pi discovers the “black fruit” on the twisted branches of the tree of “knowledge of Good and Evil” and his illusion of a perfect island is destroyed. There is a heaven and hell type scenario with the passing of each day and entering of each night. At day the meerkats eat without having to kill and show no fear not even towards Richard Parker. At night however, the ecosystem of the island feeds on itself. Pi then realizes, “*he+ preferred to set off and perish in search of my own kind than to live a lonely half-life of physical comfort and spiritual death on the murderous island” (Martel, ). The algae island provided Pi with a protection from the struggle he had to survive on his journey across the Pacific. The island provided Pi with food such as the algae and the meerkats which he did not have while he was on the boat. It also provided Pi with shelter against storms; he also did not have that in the boat. Yet Pi still left the island because he realized to live in this island he would surely die without ever meeting another human being again. Pi left this lifestyle and chose to go with Richard Parker back into the voyage across the Pacific. The last object of symbolism is the colour orange. The colour orange is shown to be associated with survival. However, Pi has been exposed to the colour orange before through Hinduism. In Hinduism the colour orange is used to symbolize fire, when the religious

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