Discussion Question Three

In part three of the novel, Pi gives us an alternative story. Which version do you choose to believe?

39 comments:

Sutton said...

This was definitely the best part of the entire novel. Pi finally gets to shore and these two men come to talk with him about the cause of the ship sinking. Pi tells them of his story: about living on a boat with Richard Parker, an orangutan, a zebra, and a hyena and how on his journey Richard Parker and him were the only survivors, however neither of the men believe what they have heard and even come straight out and say,"We only believe what we see." From there Pi tells them an alternate story replacing the orangutan with his mother, the hyena with the cook, the zebra with the sailor,and Richard Parker with himself, making him the only survivor. The alternate story Pi gives the reader is the version that makes the most sense, the other is just so far fetched. The way these animals acted in the novel portrayed the actual people. The second version of the story is more believable.

mrsd said...

Which story do you like more and why? Why is so much more time given to the first story? Be sure to respond to other questions, too. Sutton, you are first to respond; I am so excited!

Sean said...

The second story is the one that actually happened, but not the one I liked the most. It is not a pleasant story which is possibly why Pi needed to create a parallel story to believe as a means of coping with what had happened. All of the events of the first story match those of the second story, and as Sutton said, the animals each symbolize a person. The only thing that I can’t make sense of is the algae island which is not mentioned at all in the second story. More time was given to the first story because it is an easier way of stating what has happened. The second story is a more harsh truth that is not as easy to tell. The first story also contains messages and a purpose where the second story seems that there is no reason to the human suffrage that is occurring.

timsaunders said...

The fact that the two Japanese men do not believe Pi gave me a rather empty feeling at the end of this book, as if they should believe every word. I was so engrossed in the story of Pi's survival that not for one minute did I doubt its truth. Yet, he tells the alternate story, and that had me doubting which was the correct one. The mind of an adolescent can come up with fantastical things; that's the reason that when something fantastic does happen, nobody believes him or her. I choose to believe the first story, because of the absolute detail of every description and act. No mind, not even a child's, could think up the tastes of algae and the revulsion of eating excrement from Richard Parker.

The second story could easily have been drawn from the first. Everything that happened was, as Sutton and Sean have said, paralleled in each story, except in the first story there was a "Richard Parker" and a "Pi Patel". In the second, there was "Richard Parker/Pi Patel" as one entity. To give the two Japanese men a story they would want to hear, he told a fictional tail that sounded as if it could happen to most anyone.

Mitchell Close said...

Although the first story is my favorite, I believe that the second version is the true version of the story. The first story is simply too improbable, as coexisting on a lifeboat with a Bengal Tiger of all things would prove to be nigh impossible. Even though the tiger was supposedly "tame", the tiger's natural instincts would kick in Pi would have met his end.

The human mind can often create a dual personality in times of extreme stress and one would consider Pi's situation a situation of EXTREME stress. Being that Pi is a mid-range teen and a God-fearing boy, he would, as would I, attempt to invent a complex, long story where I was the innocent person, as opposed to a murderer of sorts, as "Richard Parker" dispatches the hyena and Frenchman. Why would a God-fearing teenageer want to admit to the killings of two people? That question is the chief reason why I believe the second story is the actual version.

mrsd said...

Mitchell,
You choose the more practical version to believe and your rationale of a teen needing a story to have it all make sense is also practical. Can you see why Yartel spent less time on that version?

Tim,
Your point about the details (yuck for RP's excrement!) is good. You choose to believe the first version, but is the other one the real one?

Samantha said...

Both Pi’s stories have many similarities, one easier and more exciting to read and the other a horrible and frightening ordeal. As much as I would like to believe the first story, I would have to say the second story is much more realistic, mostly likely the truth. Even though, the first story has many animals in it, there is truth to some of the story. Instead of people, the people become animals. As in the second story, the people truly act more like animals than human beings. The first story relates the humans to the animals because a boy, at such a young age, cannot even imagine humans being so cruel and vile. I believe the second story in Pi’s mind is much easier to accept all of the truly inhumane actions that go on throughout the story. I believe that is why Pi creates the first story.

Mitchell Close said...

Mrs. Dunlap,
From a practical standpoint, I can see why Martel spent less time on the second version because the second version could be taken as a short and to-the-point confession of sorts.

Nathan Barndt said...

I do not know which story to believe.

The fact that Martel spent the vast majority of the novel going through the first one in detail makes me inclined to believe it, however, when reading "The Things They Carried," a book relating to the Viet Nam War, several points in the book the author, Tim O'Brien, came back and said, "This was a lie, a figment of my imagination, or a story I made up to make my experience more memorable both to me and to my audience." The way that that book was written seriously threw off my trust in writers.

However, the second story seems more realistic. It has a feel much akin to the Donner Party of US History. Stranded travelers forced to cannibalism and other extreme acts have happened, but rarely. However Pi's inclination against the "dry, yeastless factuality" has also led me to beleive that he spiced up his story much like O'Brien had in "The Things They Carried"

Nathan Barndt

katelyn said...

I choice to believe the first story. Some may say it is only a fantasy and that it is truly unbelievable. I support my belief with a quote from Pi.

"Love is hard to believe, ask any lover. Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, ask any believer. What is your problem with hard to believe?"


I agree with Tim for Pi's reasoning in the second story. The men didn't believe the first story so Pi have to create a new one. He simply switched animals with people, but continued with the same story line.

I feel Martel gave such a brief second story because the two stories match up. There is no need to repeat what he already said in the first verison.

Like Nathan, when reading the second story I automatically thought of the Donner Pary. Both stories show what people will do to survive.

I also thought it was interesting how Pi kept asking for cookies but put them behind his bed sheet. He also had bananas behind is bed sheet too. Was he storing food as preparation for a future tragedy?

Dan said...

The two stories are extremely similar. In fact, I believe that they both happened. Pi is a child and not mentally ready for the strain of being stranded on the Pacific. Add to this the forced amputation of a man's leg, his mother's murder, his own killing of the cook, and you get one huge psycological burden. Pi simply cannot handle reality while it is happening. The real story from our perspective as readers happened with the human beings, but from Pi's perspective only animals could have done such cruel things. His dire hunger and thirst also could have lead to delusions, but this is just speculation. Both happened, one in reality and one in the heart of a poor, tormented child. As Mr. Okamoto said, "His stories match." (Pg. 311)

Mary Beth said...

I have chosen to believe Pi’s story involving the animals. I liked Katelyn’s quote from Pi about the first story being hard to believe. Yes, it is hard to believe, but I love using my imagination and the second part of the book was my favorite. I’m not willing to sacrifice it for the unimaginative and terrifying alternative story. I believe that Martel was after the heart of the story and because he devotes a large portion of the book to telling the first story it is the one which Pi would rather have readers believe. Obviously, the killing of a zebra and an orangutan by a hyena is less terrible to imagine than a sailor and Pi’s mother being killed by the ship’s cook. I realize that Pi’s second story is more practical, but it is much more distressing.

Another reason for my choice is that the first story involves a greater amount of depth and some of the timing is off between the two stories. Details abound in Pi’s story involving the animals, making it more believable. One detail that doesn’t transfer from the first to the second story is the other sailors not getting on the lifeboat while the ship is sinking. If the hyena represented the cook, why were the sailors afraid to get on the lifeboat with another human? Why wouldn’t there have been more humans onboard the lifeboat?

Also, the timing doesn’t work out perfectly for the animal story to be symbolism for the human story. For example, the scene where Pi is blind and meets another human with a French accent whom Richard Parker kills happens much later in the story than where he describes killing the French cook himself. Although Richard Parker kills the hyena early on in the story, this section involving the other human doesn’t fit in the timeline. In addition, if the first story is symbolic of the second story involving the humans, I wondered what Richard Parker’s disappearing from the beach without a proper goodbye symbolized. I thought that perhaps the tiger symbolized Pi’s courage and will to live, but I certainly hope that arriving on land didn’t make those traits that he gained on his journey disappear without a trace. Overall, the first story has won my belief not only because it’s easier on my emotions, but because of its detail and the discrepancies between the two stories.

HannahR said...

It was a difficult choice deciding which story to believe. After thinking about it for a while I've chosen to believe the second story about the real people. My theory is at such a young age it was easier for Pi to think of the characters on the lifeboat as animals, that way it wasn't such a tragedy. I think Pi chose the animals based on which animal the people resembled the most. Like Pi's mother being Orange Juice, the orang-utan, Pi stated during the second part of the book that Orange Juice resembled a human and had motherly traits. The heyna, who was supposively the French cook, was a vicious creature that killed everything it could. The poor zebra was the hurt sailor. He never got a chance at survival. Last, there leaves Pi, after watching his mother and the sailor die and a French cook eating their flesh he knew his only way to survive was if he killed the cook, if not he would die too. This is how Pi resembled the Bengal Tiger a strong a superior animal. The stories match and even though they both kind of make sense, I've chosen to believe the second one.

Spencer said...

While reading this book I had a difficult time believing Pi's story of being shipwrecked with the animals at first. The story was just too far fetched for me. However he spent so much time on the story with the animals that by the end I found myself actually believing him. But when he told the other version of the story it confirmed my suspicions. I personally believe Pi's second story. Although I did enjoy reading the first story, simply because it was entertaining and interesting, it was just too far fetched for me to believe. The second story was more brutal and graphic, and instead of animals there were other people involved. I found it interesting how Pi turned each person into an animal. The sailor was the zebra, his Mother was the orangutan, the Chef was the hyena, and he himself was the tiger. I enjoyed the perspective he took on all of the events on the life boat. How elaborate the story was, made it very interesting and enjoyable to read, and totally kept my interest. Although the first story was interesting I choose to believe the second story since it makes far more sense to me, and seems like it is a more reasonable story.

Alyssa said...
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Alyssa said...

While questioning frequently the possibility of the occurrence of most events in this book, I was certainly shocked at the ending of the novel. I, like Tim, was disappointed when the Japanese men didn’t believe Pi’s amazing story of survival. Although the original version was so far fetched, I found myself intrigued in his story and believed him by the end because of how each detail was described so fully.

While I found the first version much more entertaining and exciting, I choose to believe that the alternate ending is what actually happened. The 2nd version makes more sense and is more believable. I don’t believe it would’ve been possible to spend so much time alone with a Bengal tiger and come out of the experience alive. I remembered Pi’s father’s “lesson” in the beginning of the book of how dangerous these animals truly are. The lesson of why to never be near a tiger foreshadowed that Pi would actually have to co-exist with one later, whether it being Richard Parker… or himself. I enjoyed the original version much more, but I believe the alternate ending is what truly happened.

There are more details in the 2nd story because, no matter which version each person chooses to believe, it is tragic either way. Pi’s way of dealing with the death of his mother was to create a different version in order to deal with the pain. I agree with Mitchell in that why would such a religious boy ever admit to the killings of two people?

rebecca said...
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rebecca said...

i choose the animal version because when something or someone died that was significant Pi always mentioned that he prayed for that lost life everyday. so the time that Pi felt horrible when he killed the fish and that he would always pray for it....if Pi couldnt kill a fish then how could he kill a human let alone the one who killed his mother?
he also hadnt explained the meercat bones in the second story. and he always mentioned his mother as in the same situation as the rest of the family not in a different situation. also, if the mom got out from the boat then where was the brother and father? still sleeping? then why would only the mom be up? and if not then why would they choose to separate from one another? the second story just doesnt add up right. why would Pi go on through-out the whole book mentioning Richard Parker when the tiger wasnt even really there? i believe that Pi quickly thought up a story that matched so the two men would be satisfied. in my opinion this book is heavily entwined with religion which the first story covers, not just a make believe in which Pi cant handle reality and needs a substitute like the first story. also.. who was the man who tried to kill him? what...Pi has a split personality so he just switched over to his tiger side (since the two men thought the tiger was Pi in the second story) and killed the guy?
yes this quesion was a very hard one for the fact that both stories could have happened but one just doesnt fully add up in my opinion.

amygirl2202 said...

Honestly, I would absolutely love to believe the first story but, the second story seem more probable than the first.Just the fact that a tiger and a young boy could live on a life boat together for a long period of time is almost impossible. Animals live by instincts and that lions first insticnt would be to kill and eat Pi so he didn't starve to death. i believe pi was living in an alternate reality on the life boat because of what he saw and what he did bothered and horrified him enough to lose his mind. Both stories match upbut what Pi did was replace his mother with the lost orangutan looking out at sea for it's family, the Chinese sailor boy with the wounded zebra, the butcher with the hungry, vicious hyena, and himself as Richard Parker the only survivor on the boat. After all this occured, Pi turned to God in hopes and means to survive and as you can clearly see, he did.Poor Pi is now scarred for life from that life threatening journey to find people, land, survival.

Again I will say, i really would love to believe the first story of the cute cuddly, mean, vicious, hungry, terrifying animals, but the second story seems more probable to have occurred.

Austin said...
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Beachy said...
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Beachy said...

The was my favorite part of the entire novel. It was ingenious the way that the author chose to incorporate the taped recorded conversation. It completely threw me for a loop. I really don't think it is a question of what version I as a reader choose to believe or the even what the author chooses to believe, the only true story is the one in which Pi places his faith in. There is one fact which does remain in both stories, a boy by the name of Piscine Molitar Patel survived over a year on a lifeboat using survival skills which we could not even begin to imagine. If Pi chooses to believe that the true story is that with Richard Parker, Orange Juice, the zebra, the hyena, and all the other creatures, then this is the story we as individuals must choose to believe. The only person who will ever truly know what happened on that lifeboat is Pi and if the story he tells is one with far-fetched ideas, then this is the story I choose to believe.

(Also I can't stand the thought of cannibalism therefore the other story involving humans that could essentially be related to the trials of the Donner party does not appeal to me in the least bit.)

jacquie said...

Starting with the facts:

1.We know that Pi has lost his entire family; therefore, he is most likely suffering from shock. Also meaning, he could be delusional. It is highly possible that he was stuck on the boat with human beings but just imagined them as animals after time. He did state in part one his imagination could take over sometimes.

2.The zoo that his father owned did contain a tiger by the name of Richard Parker. He was close to this tiger. Was he close enough to imagine himself to have the same characteristics of a tiger, such as the connection that the japanese men make between the two different stories (page 311)?

3.Pi is very religious. Although, in the alternate story, Pi doesn't express any sense of religion. Why is that?

My choice:

I believe the first story. Yes, the shock possibility is hard to pass up but the boy is 16 years old and in his school years didn't express his imagination as much.

I chose the first story because of the fact of religion. The second story was made for the atheist or the agnostic and the first for the christian, muslim or hindu inside the reader, the ones with true beliefs. The purpose for Martel to write two endings was to show the reader who they really are, not who Pi is. I think that other beliefs of the reader help to make their decision on what story they want to believe. Republican, democrat, pessimist, optimist, male, female; all of these characteristics help to make the readers decision.

jenn said...

Well...to say the least, this is an interesting twist to finish off the story. I dont really think it's a question of which version i like better, because i believe that they're one and the same. I think that there is a great possibility that Pi was in the boat with humans, the people who are described in part three. Pi's mother would be the orangutan, the sailor is the zebra, the cook is the hyena, Pi is the tiger, and the tiger throughout the whole story did not exist. This whole book, aside form part three could simply be a hallucination, where Pi imagined all of the people to be the respective animals.
Aside from the hallucination theory...if i had to pick which one i liked better, i would say the main story with the animals, simply because it was more exciting and somewhat less gruesome (not technically, but in part two the dis-embodiment of humans was kept to a minimal, whereas in part three it was easier to relate to, unfortunately). I like part two better because its a story; because it is only a story, believability is not of utmost importnace to me. I think that more time is given to the first because, in order to give a fair comparison to the two, the reader must spend enough time reading the first, to that there's an equal chance for each. If each story were the length of the second, then the choice of preference would be the second one obviously, simply because it is more believable. By lengthening the first so much, the reader sort of grows with the story.

Bryan Stoy said...

The reader spends more than half the novel reading the first version. Up until the last several pages it seems to be completely true without any doubt. The alternative story is very frustrating to read because it ruins the first story by giving another example of what could have happened. As Pi states in the end of the novel, “and so the story goes with God” (pg. 317). Pi and God are the only two who know the real story so Yann Martel’s character, Pi, leaves the decision to the reader as to which story is better. Another question is that if God and Pi are the only ones to know the true story, then why not believe the story that is more thrilling and unbelievable? I agree with Mr. Okamoto and Mr. Chiba that the first story is much better and I, unlike them, will choose to believe it as well. I know Pi spent days on the lifeboat and had hours to think about anything, but how could someone’s mind be so open to creating such a fictional story when survival should be the main focus. I think it would be very complicated to survive the horrible second story Pi described at the end of the novel. I believe it is much easier for Pi to change characters in the animal story to create the second story.

Andy said...

A large majority of the novel is dedicated to Pi’s survival in the first story. But at the end when Pi gives the second variation, it is obvious that this is the more practical version. Although it is much more gruesome, it is far more likely to have happened than the first, even though the first story was more entertaining.

I agree with Mitchell, that the first story was just a way to cope with what really happened. Because, let’s face it, watching your mother and another man get murdered by a French cook is a little hard to handle. Also, none of Pi’s religions support killing people. So, the first story could have been a way to relieve a little bit of Pi’s guilt for killing the cook.

So although both stories are basically the same, the first with animals and the second with humans, I believe the second story is the one that actually happened.

David said...

I have come to believe the first story. It may be hard to believe, but isn't that what the whole story circles around? As Pi said "Love is hard to believe, ask any lover. Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, ask any believer." If one believes in any of these three, then why not Pi's survival story?
I think what makes this novel so interesting is that it not only focuses on Pi's journey, but in a way the story is meant for the reader to really question the truth depending on his or her personal beliefs.
No matter what really occurred, the only one who will ever know what truly happened is Pi and God himself. The truth is not what is most important in this scenario. The most incredible thing is that Pi Patel survived 227 days on a lifeboat and lived until he finally reached Mexico. The truth is no more than what Pi Patel makes it to be.

Kyle McCormick said...

Pi Patel offers the reader two stories, one factual and one fabricated. Although I found both thoroughly intriguing and enjoyable, when deciding which was true, I was torn between the two. In the process of making my decision, I noticed several interesting aspects of both stories.

The first story, Pi’s survival while trapped with a tiger, though very unlikely and unusual, is told in a believable manor. The intimate detail provided for this story made me think that only someone that experienced such an event could tell the story. After reading the first part of the book, I learned that Pi was a very religious person. The first story mentions, though not as much as I would have expected, how Pi’s religion affects his life and survival while stranded. However, Pi fails to mention his religious beliefs in the second story. I assume that Pi did accredit his survival to God, based on his solid religious foundation, if in fact this story is true. But, the reality is that Pi does not display religious thoughts in the second story. Pi also has a companion, Richard Parker, in the first story. Pi says, when contemplating getting rid of Richard, that he doubts he can survive alone. I find it hard to believe that he survives companionless in his second story with this mentality.

After analyzing aspects that give both stories legitimacy, I believe that the second story, the non-animal story, of how Pi witnessed his mother’s death and killed the cook, is true. The second story, a more disturbing account of Pi’s survival, is very difficult to regard as fabricated. It is very hard to believe that anyone would make up seeing their own mother’s death along with the deaths of others. Even further, the killing of another human being. I think most people, if in the same situation, would create a story that made the situation seem better or themselves braver, which would hardly include witnessing, but not being able to stop, their own mother’s death. As for the decline in detail from the first to second story, Pi most likely spent the rest of his 227 days stranded thinking. His thoughts could have possibly included alternative, happier, events in his ordeal, and with the time he had, these ideas could have become quite in depth, resulting in his first story. The occurrence of religion in the first and absence in the second could have just been accidental. However, with Pi’s passionate beliefs, it might not have been. Pi might have turned from God in his time of trouble and in an act of repentance, mentioned God’s role in his survival in his other story.

Nevertheless, the story I believe actually occurred is not the one I enjoyed the most. Pi’s story of life side-by-side with Richard Parker and three other animals, the discovery of a unique island, and his struggle to survive, is by far more interesting and mind-boggling. Due to this story’s unlikelihood, it requires an imagination and belief that anything is possible when reading.

Margo said...

Although Pi's alternative story involving the cook, his mother, and the sailor is the more practical version of the story, I choose to believe his original story involving the animals and the island. To begin with, I enjoyed the excitement and extravagance of the original version. I will agree that there are several occurrences throughout the first story that seem to be far fetched, but sometimes rare things happen in life that are simply unbelievable. The first story is so long and intricate that it would take a lot of time and a wild imagination to simply invent. Why would Pi waste his time creating a story that would serve no purpose in his life rather than to possibly entertain himself and others through the telling of the story? The second story is simple and brief due to the fact that it is false and was created using little effort. Pi knew that the men weren't going to believe his initial story no matter what and he didn't see the point in wasting his energy fighting with them. Therefore, in order to please the men and get rid of them, he derived a more believable, alternative version from his original story. It wasn't worth it for Pi to waste his time trying to convince the men that he was telling the truth because, in reality, did it even make a difference which story they chose to believe? Would it effect his life in any way if the men even believed his first story? Call me crazy, but I think not.

Austin said...

Between the two stories that Pi tells to Mr. Okamoto and his colleague, I choose to believe the first story over the second. The second story follows a straight line. It doesn't state anything out of the ordinary. It is exactly what everyone wants to hear, including Mr. Okamoto and his colleague. It seems that the passion that was present in the first story was absent in the second, causing Pi to make the story sound forced. These hints lead me to believe the first story. I also choose to believe the first story because we all need to believe in something that we've never seen or heard of before. Something that breaks scientific laws and makes people wonder what's really out there. This would be called faith. I finally realize the reason of this book, but I won't share it unless you would like, Mrs. Dunlap.

EmoneyWalsh said...

Although my childhood persuasion would lead me to gleefully agree with the loftily ficticious animal story, the blunt reality is that the latter of the two stories told is unfortunately the true one. The fact that he turned those who he cared about into animals made it easier for him to let go. Also that he conceeded to the inquisitors the second story after a few shadowy inconsistencies were brought to light with his first story. He not only told of the second story to make the questionaires feel more at ease but to reach an honest state of equilibrium with himself and the world. The meaning and purpose of the two stories was identical but his heavy conscience would prove to be an unbearable weight on him if the version of story told was inaccurate. The second story told is comparable to a last minute confession by the murderer, blurting out, "I did it!" when the mounting pressure overcame him. Pi left the men equipped with the only thing he thought a necessity: the truth.

sarah s said...

I do not believe either story that Pi tells the investigators. Neither story makes any sort of factual sense. Neither story explains how the Tsimtsum sank. I enjoyed the first story greatly. I was engaged in every detail of Piscine’s survival. I thought the idea of living with a tiger and practically becoming an animal himself in the sense of doing anything to survive was absolutely fascinating. The first story was a captivating read and I wish that that were the true story. I also wish that I could believe the second story so that at least I would know what truly happened to Pi Patel. I think that Pi knows exactly how and why the cargo ship he was aboard sank and that he refuses to tell his real story because it is much to distressing for him to reveal the way in which his family dies while he survives. I also feel that when he asks them to believe what they want he does so knowing that it does not matter which is believed because neither are accurate.
At the end of the story all we really know is that a ship sank, Pi survived while his family did not, and the reason he made it through was his faith in the lord. I find it very possible that Pi feels that this is all anyone needs to know. He made it through. God saved his life. To Piscine how he got there only brings up miserable memories and reminds him of a tragedy no one would want to remember. So why should he tell complete strangers the most personal memory he has? I wouldn’t.

johanna said...

Part of me would love for Pi's first story to be true, but I know it's just not feasible. The things Pi went through must've put enormous strain on him in every way. He was pushed towards and over his physical and mental limits. There is no shame in the possibility that Pi snapped. He made up an alternative explanation for events that were still too recent for him to deal with. It's a lot easier for someone to speak of an orangutan dying than to outline the suffering of his mother to strangers. Pi disassociates himself from the overwhelming times he spent on the lifeboat and pours his emotions into this parable instead. As for Richard Parker, isn't it possible that Pi is represented by both himself and the tiger? The part of Pi that he can admit to is the rational, praying boy, scared of the tiger and horrified of the things he's watching. The dark side of Pi is the one that he labels Richard Parker- the instinctive anger, the cannibalism, the desertion of faith, the reactions that any of us would probably experience after 200 days of constant fear. The Japanese gentlemen and I both found more enjoyment in the first story, however- I thought it was a great point that they mentioned Pi's survival in the company of a Bengal tiger, even after hearing the second version.

erik said...

The final section was the most symbolic of the entire novel. In this section he is found and tells his story to the two men. Neither believe him and say, "We only believe what we see." Their reply is an atheist's philosophy. No one can see God or gods therefore they choose to disbelieve until they can see.

Pi changes the story to make it more believable. We see this in modern society. For years, many believed what their religion taught them about the basic questions. For instance, a wide believe many many years ago was that God created everything just by will. Sort of like pulling a rabbit out of a hat. However, today we have many theories, such as the Big Bang. To some, this story is more believable than the idea of God "pulling a rabbit out of a hat."

It didn't matter to Pi what the men believed, just that he was here now. He was alive.

I choose to believe his first story. I think the basis of the book is: How strong of a believer are you? I don't mean to sound like an atheist (which I'm not), but there is no physical proof in a God or many gods. Stories are all that exist. In the end, that's all Pi's expirience was. Some people may choose to believe him while others choose to believe his second story. Some choose to believe in the story of God and some choose to believe in the stories of Science.

Riddhi said...

First off, Yann Martel's conclusion of the book I never expected! I would have never thought of him changing the animals into real people, however thinking practcally of the situation I would have to say the second story it the true story. I would like to believe that Pi's animal story is true simply because it is quite more intreguing to read about a person stranded on a boat with animals anyday than a book about cannibalism. Living for 227 days on a boat excluded from the world would drive a person insane. That's like excluding yourself from all social life for almost a year. Now we all today take for granted food, shelter, and clothing. However, Pi unknowingly, was what seemed like forever excluded from life. Martel's animal story was to intregue the reader and realize the hardship Pi went through. The two stories Pi told were very similar. Each animal coincided with a person, and understanding Pi's viewpoints both stories could have been real. His love for animals vs. his love for his family. Pi's true self was emerged through Richard Parker himself. He didn't want to simply portray himself as a careless human being. He was both the tiger and the boy. The boy beig his innocent half and the tiger the brutal side of him. But what else could one do on a boat for 227 days? Let's be honest with ourselves, God only could not have helped Pi survive. He had to have the strength within himself to survive. By having Pi survive on a boat with a bengal tiger relaxed the novel to an exent where the reader could relate to Pi's uncertainties and fears. No one can imagine a child simply going and killing off their own family members in order to simply survive. Not knowing until the end of the novel about the true story made the novel more enoyable as well. I don't think I would have been as engrossed in the book had I known that Pi was Richard Parker.

Believing the first story and relating to it is much easier for a reader than the second story. However, the second story is the truth. I would rather not like to to think of it as that way, but simply a child living with animals on a lifeboat for 227 days is far more unbelievable.

Madeline said...

Personally, I feel that the first story is likely to be true. There is no real reason that it could not be so. Pi knows what is truly the actual scenario and tells his interviewers. When the time comes for them to believe also, Pi understands that it is their task to believe the true story. He does not feel burdened to convince them. It is their job to believe. Pi takes this stance with his religions as well. He doesn't feel the responsiblity to convince other people of his unique faith, either. He knows that he believes and if other people want to believe as well, it is their job to do so.
For this reason, I believe that the first story was the truth.

a dizzzzle (adam) said...

When i read Pi's second version of his story i asked myself... was Pi really capable of killing that cook. I myself could not see Pi killing another human being. When he was asked what to tell them what had really happened he just simply replaced the animals with actual people. He made a simple transition from the original story although now it is more believeable. He was now saying what he thought they wanted to hear the first time. This led me to the decision that the original story was what had actually happened.

Jess said...

Having an alternate ending was really a surprise and a fun twist, but i prefer the version with all the animals over the human version. The animal version makes the story more creative because its more interesting reading about a boy stuck on a boat with a hyena, a rat, a zebra, and of course a tiger. The majority of the book also tells the story as the animal version so basically its easier to believe that one after reading the novel and picturing it with animals. I'd rather picture animals eating eachother than humans eating eachother because canibalism is pretty gross. I liked the part of the book too where Pi trains the tiger to stay on his side of the boat and not eat him because it reminded me of Pavlov's experiment with the dog and it was really smart and creative. The other version is totally reasonable too, but i prefer the animals being involved.

Mary said...

At the end of the novel, when Pi comes to shore and the Japanese men question him about the trip in hopes that his story will shed light on the mystery of the sinking ship. However, the men refuse to believe Pi’s first story he tells them, and he is therefore forced to tell them yet another story; without animals. I choose to believe the first story where the lifeboat occupies a tiger, orangutan, hyena, and zebra instead of the second, where his mom, the cook, and the sailor are with him on the boat. I think that a story with such animation as the first would be an adventure to be sure, if it had indeed occurred. The Japanese men said that everything about the first story was too absurd to be true. They believed that orangutans floating on an island of bananas, a carnivorous tree, a fish-eating algae that produced fresh water, and tree-dwelling aquatic rodents simply didn’t exist. The second story was so disgusting and repulsive in every way, that I refuse to believe that such hostility and inhumanity could have occurred. I believe that to be the case with most people. They believe only what they want to believe. The Japanese men had never seen those things, which Pi had described, with their own eyes, therefore they couldn’t possibly exist. I, even though I know that brutality demonstrated by the cook in the second story could have taken place. However, I would rather believe a fantasy story as the first, rather than face the unbelievable and yet possible truth of the second.