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The plot structure in Martel's Life of Pi includes postmodern concepts such as learning...

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ed00 | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 21, 2013 at 8:21 PM via web

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The plot structure in Martel's Life of Pi includes postmodern concepts such as learning things for the purpose of using them, subjective rather than traditional approaches to religion, and the changes in narrator and ambiguity (doubt about the actual facts). How does Martel apply each of these to the story?

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted September 18, 2013 at 5:03 PM (Answer #1)

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Martel applies each one of the above-mentioned devices in the following ways: First, the Pondicherry Zoo is the place where Pi learns everything there is to know about animals. This knowledge of how animals act, think, and react helps him later while on the lifeboat. Pi demonstrates great credibility to the animal version of the story because of this great acquired knowledge. He makes it seem that without knowledge of habitats, enclosures, and each animal's instincts, no one but he would have survived that epic journey. With religion, Pi joins three different ones, which is highly unorthodox and untraditional. Normally, a person chooses one religion and lives by it; but not Pi. He shows his belief in God in a nontraditional way which certainly brings up the point that no matter what you believe in, there's a God one way or another. He draws on this belief while on the lifeboat, too. Then, ambiguous parts of the story are seen throughout the second part of the book and driven deeper into doubt in part three. Could a boy really survive on a lifeboat for seven months with a tiger? Which story is valid? Both seem valid. Both have substantial evidence to back them up. The technique of a writer to leave the reader with a question in his/her mind is widely used in postmodern literature.

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