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Preston Ernst1/21/18Honors English 10Lifeboat Longevity          With the creation of the story The Life of Pi, Yann Martel, causes others to question the true meanings and roles of storytelling and the realities that human beings accept to be true. In this fashion, the reader is left with questions about what truly is real in both life and in this novel even when it appears only on the verge of being realistic. Martel composes this novel in the certain way of being almost unbelievable to both fit under the category of magical realism and to fit his aspiration for this abstract novel. Magical realism was necessary for this novel in order to create the image and aura intended and to directly relate to Pi’s existential crisis. The existential crises experienced by Pi are portrayed accurately by the magical realistic events written by Yann Martel that include magical events, meta-fiction, and the novel that causes the reader to question religion and life itself.With the combination of magical realistic events and Pi’s religious beliefs, Pi along with the reader a contemplates life’s concepts. From the very beginning, Pi makes his love and yearning for religion clear. As Life of Pi progresses, the protagonist picks up multiple religions as he travels through the novel. With the addition of first Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity, Pi gains attention from leaders and priests of these faiths. Conflict commences with the religious leaders of these individual faiths. They argue and condone Pi’s actions of worshiping the multiple faiths. As Yann Martel stated in his novel, “the imam and priest nodded. ‘But he can’t be a Hindu, a Christian and a Muslim. It’s impossible. He must choose.’ “(87) demonstrates the importance and severity of Pi’s choices. Pi rebels against the norm that most religions retain, that you should not practice another’s religion along with your own. This unspoken rule is mixed, with the conflict between the religious leaders and Pi and the internal conflicts inside Pi. Yann Martel uses magical realism literature and ideas in this situation to convey these conflicts. As Pi questions the religious norms in his society and around the world, the reader is then equally questioning what society’s religious ideas and philosophies represent. The reader, who might or might not possess their own religion is caused to question their own beliefs of the supernatural. In addition, if they are a believer, they would consider if one could, in fact, worship multiple gods from different religions righteously as displayed in Pi’s actions. Pi, as he questions the basis of his own religions, portrayed the element of magical realism that causes the reader to question their assumptions of religious truth. This magical realism causes Pi’s internal conflict with religion and him “just wanting to love God,” (87) to be clear.Magical realism is used in many different fashions by Yann Martel, one specific example is the progression of more unrealistic events as the story continues. With the progressing of time, on the lifeboat, Piscine is changing and along the way losing his humanity. This harsh reality brought by self-deprecating events is also mixed with events of a magical nature and is changing Pi for the worst. One example of this is when Pi compares his eating to Richard Parker’s eating. He notices he eats his food as quickly and animalistically as Richard Parker does. Other examples of his slipping humanity would be the first time he killed a fish. As Pi addressed in the book, “to think that I’m a strict vegetarian. . . and always shuddered when I snapped open a banana because it sounded to me like the breaking of an animal’s neck. I descended to a level of savagery I never imagined possible.” (249) He is aware of the changes that are occurring inside of him. These realistic events are not the only examples that show Pi ignores all his morals in order to survive and over the course of the book these events can be seen to get more unbelievable. In addition, this progression could relate to the continuous loss of humanity inside of Pi. Most evidently, in Part 2 an almost direct progression to become more and more magical and unbelievable can be found. Beginning with the shipwreck, then along the way, finding another blind man on the vast ocean and finally to come across a floating island described to be almost alive. This string of events, if placed out of the context of the book, would seem impossible and discarded almost immediately. However, with the progression of more magical realistic events as the book goes on, make those same events seem more realistic. Based on the fact that the there was a small leap between those two situations in increases their believability. In this fashion, the little bit of credibility can hold its own amidst the vast amount of magical events. Pi is sent through these devastating events by Yann Martel and this character’s internal dilemmas continue to grow. In contrast, the unrealistic events could be believed just based on the fact that as humans we want to believe the “better story” as brought up numerous times in the novel. In times like the concluding chapters of the novel, Pi offers the inquisitors a choice between two contradictory stories both with the same characters: one version with animals and the other version with humans. With this choice, Pi asks them which they prefer, in saying they prefer the animal adaptation of the stories. the reader also questions whether it matter which is more realistic if one is a better story. With both not being able to be proven accurate the reader must also choose which version they prefer and this can relate to life.Finally, Martel uses magical realism included in the two different stories near the end of the novel to create meta-fiction and to shock the reader. During this passage, Pi clarifies that his inquisitors want a “dry, yeastless factuality.” (381) and with their request, he tells them another story. In continuation, Pi, after telling the animal free story, announces that “since it makes no factual difference to you and you can’t prove the question either way, which story do you prefer? Which is the better story?” (399) Yann Martel speaking through Pi brings up the question of what is the reason for stories and should we just tell the better story even if it is not the accurate one. Along with this meta-fiction that informs the reader that we can not know what is fiction or not, the reader also questions the previous stories that were told and what was actually true. Relating to Pi internal conflicts, this addition of magical realism creates another world in which the story could exist. The second story could be Pi’s way of coping with the events in his past. Creating this parallel story with the people in his life being replaced by animals, Pi could be covering up the unbearable hurt relating to the events told by the story. Pi needs a method of coping with the events that were his past and by turning his world into one that is more make believe, he himself could then escape from his realities which are plaguing him. Then, this story becomes the one he tells to cope with past events as well as the fact that it is a better story. Similarly, the “dream rag” is a direct way to tell that Pi is experiencing serious turmoil with himself and his surrounding. This is “one of Pi’s favorite methods of escape”(298) where he uses asphyxiation. He wants to escape his world that is so bleak and without all that he has loved to join another reality. When Pi regains consciousness from this state, he is “delighted to find that time had slipped by.”(299) The events and setting he is trying to escape are the exact ones being created by the magical realistic events. With these stories of humans and animals coexisting on a lifeboat on the Pacific ocean, which have never recorded before, a magical aura is created.Over the course of Life of Pi magical realism can coincide with the existential crises experienced by Pi. Magical realism can be found in the diversity of religion that causes the reader to question their own beliefs about religion. Also, the harsh reality mixed with events of magical nature are causing Pi to lose his humanity. Magical realism is necessary for this novel in order to create the image and aura intended and to directly relate to Pi’s existential crisis. The existential crises’ experienced by Pi are portrayed accurately by the magical realistic events written by Yann Martel that include meta-fiction, magical events, and the novel that causes the reader to question life itself.