Can you please answer my question from "Life of Pi"?"The world isn't just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it,...

Can you please answer my question from "Life of Pi"?

"The world isn't just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no? Doesn't that make life a story?" 

What does this passage mean and how does it relate to theme?

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mrs-campbell's profile pic

mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

In the book, you have two versions of the story:  the one with animals, and the one without. So the main question is, which one was real, or were they both real, and why?  If you tie this concept to the quote above, the people version of the story could be considered as the world "just the way it is."  That is the more logical, more realistic scenario.  But what an awful, depressing, morbid, violent story about the nature of mankind!  So, take the story as how Pi understands it.  Isn't it much more managable to add his understanding of animals to the story, and use that to help him to deal with the harsh reality of what really happened?  In order to understand the ferocity of his survival tale, he brought something to it-his love for and understanding of animals.  And in the end, that made it a better story too.  The animal story is Pi's story; it is his version of life, it is how he understands what happened to him.  And, just as the two Japanese interrogators at the end state, the animal version makes a much better story.

I also provided links below to further discussion of theme and an analysis of the book itself; those should be useful too.

israeliguy21's profile pic

israeliguy21 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Basically, he is saying that the world goes beyond comprehension, beyond our understanding. By saying we understand it, it's similiar to saying life is just a story told by a storyteller so that we can believe we understand it.

To clarify things even further: Yann really is trying to get the message through that the story with the animals is the better more fascinating story, as oppose to the second more realistic "believable" story. By saying we understand and believe in the second story more, we are missing the better story. Similar to when we die and feel the warm light on us, by thinking "This is probably just the deoxygenation of our brain", we are missing out on the better story of life, which is God or the belief in the incomprehensible.

I loved this book. Hope that helped =)

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