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Life of Pi Themes

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Life of Pi Theme of Religion
At times, Life of Pi reads like a defense of religion. Has science proved religion wrong? Here's a protagonist who believes passionately in both zoology and religion. What about the fact of multiple faiths? Don't these faiths contradict each other, cause wars, and other problems? Here's a protagonist who is Muslim, Christian, and Hindu – all at the same time. The book defends not only the common spirit behind these three religions, but the rituals and ceremonies of each. It's as if all three religions find harmonious common ground in this character. Seems unlikely, but then again, the protagonist argues passionately that the miraculous happens in our darkest moments.

Quote #1But I don't insist. I don't mean to defend zoos. Close them all down if you want (and let us hope that what wildlife remains can survive in what is left of the natural world). I know zoos are no longer in people's good graces. Religion faces the same problem. Certain illusions about freedom plague them both. (1.4.14) |
Do zoos incarcerate animals in confined spaces and make them miserable? Pi doesn't think so: "Certain illusions about freedom" tempt us to this conclusion. In actuality, an animal's life in the wild is more circumscribed than "a knight on a chessboard" (1.4.8). Predator-prey relationships restrict the animal's movement. A zoo enclosure is actually more like a hearth for an animal: a place of comfort and rest. Likewise, most people think of religion as a restrictive cage. Actually, Pi says, it's home and hearth for the believer. Quote #2[Pi:] "Religion will save us," I said. Since when I could remember, religions had always been close to my heart.

"Religion?" Mr. Kumar grinned broadly. "I don't believe in religion. Religion is darkness."

Darkness? I was puzzled. I thought, Darkness is the last thing that religion is. Religion is light. Was...

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