Presentation on theme: "ENGL 202 Introduction to Literary Study: Creaturely Lives Life of Pi 01/23/2013Yann Martel."— Presentation transcript:
ENGL 202 Introduction to Literary Study: Creaturely Lives Life of Pi 01/23/2013Yann Martel
Main Point s A true story? Narrative suspense/narrative delay Voice Pi Point of View Attitudes towards animals
“Author’s Note” (pp. vii-xii) A true story? “Later, in Toronto, among nine columns of Patels in the phone book I found him, the main character.” “I have a few people to thank. I am most obviously indebted to Mr. Patel. … For getting me started on the story, I have Mr. Adirubasamy to thank.” “a story to make you believe in God …”?
Narrative suspense and narrative delay “Richard Parker has stayed with me. I’ve never forgotten him. Dare I say I miss him? I do. I miss him. I still see him in my dreams. They are nightmares mostly, but nightmares tinged with love. Such is the strangeness of the human heart. I still cannot understand how he could abandon me so unceremoniously, without any sort of goodbye, without looking back even once. That pain is like an axe that chops at my heart.” (6)
Pondicherry Manakula Vinayagar Temple
Whose is the voice in the chapters written in italics? (e.g. Ch. 2, Ch. 6, Ch. 15) What is the point of these chapters?
Pi Piscine Molitor (swimming = survival?) P. Singh Pissing Pi “I was the first and the most enduring of the Greeks at Petit Séminaire.” (24) “in that Greek letter that looks like a shack with a corrugated tin roof, in that elusive, irrational number with which scientists try to understand the universe, I found refuge.” (24)
Point of view Father called out. “Children, come here.” Something was wrong. His tone of voice set off a small alarm bell in my head. I quickly reviewed my conscience. It was clear. Ravi must be in trouble again. I wondered what he had done this time. I walked into the living room. Mother was there. That was unusual.” (31-32)
Point of view, cont’d “Are tigers dangerous? “Yes, Father, tigers are dangerous.” “Tigers are very dangerous,” Father shouted. … is that clear? … Ravi?” Ravi nodded vigorously. “Piscine?” I nodded even more vigorously. He kept his eyes on me. I nodded so hard I’m surprised my neck didn’t snap and my head fall to the floor. (cont’d)
Point of view, cont’d I would like to say in my own defence that though I may have anthropomorphized the animals till they spoke fluent English, the pheasants complaining in uppity British accents of their tea being cold and the baboons planning their bank robbery getaway in the flat, menacing tones of American gangsters, the fancy was always conscious. I deliberately dressed wild animals in tame costumes of my imagination. But I never deluded myself as to the real nature of my playmates. (33-34)
Attitudes to animals The three-toed sloth in Ch. 1? The zoo as “paradise on earth” (14) to Pi? Is the zoo an allegory of human relations? “Repetition is important in the training not only of animals but also of humans.” (23) Anthropomorphism criticized (31)
Questions 1.What do you make of Pi’s espousal, at the age of 14, of three religions? 2. Does the novel present an argument for the value of zoos?