I need help with Yann Martel's comments about his book Life of Pi.In response to the question "Would you say that religion and fiction work in the same way?” Martel said, 1.  Life is a story....

I need help with Yann Martel's comments about his book Life of Pi.

In response to the question "Would you say that religion and fiction work in the same way?” Martel said, 1.  Life is a story. 2.  You can choose your story. 3.   A story with God is the better story. As a Roman Catholic, discuss Martel's statements:

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Martel uses religion and fiction almost interchangably, and makes the point that all religions have stories that explain our existence and purpose here on earth, and that is a good thing, because it makes our lives more meaningful, calm and happy.  He says that "dry, yeastless factuality" is boring and frightening.  To imagine your life with no purpose or meaning is a terrifying thing--why even bother living if that is the case?

He finds all of the different "stories" that religions have fascinating, just as Pi does in the novel.  From a Christian or Catholic perspective, the story revolves around Christ.  We are here on earth to be tested and prove our worthiness for heaven.  But because we can never be worthy, because we are in a fallen state, we had to have a Savior to come, to make up that difference.  That Savior just so happened to be the son of God Himself, and he atoned for all of our sins so that we could live with God again.  That story brings purpose, meaning and direction to our lives.  Trying to explain life without God at the center of it means that we are living a purposeless life, and that there is no one out there to help us, and to guide and support us.  That is not a good way to live, and it makes for a very boring story indeed.

In the novel, he actually goes into people who live their lives without God, saying that he can't imagine them dying, and how empty that would be to not know that something better was waiting them.  Whether or not there is a God, or a purpose to our lives, Martel insists that living with that belief is better than living without it.  God makes our lives better; He makes the purpose more interesting, and the journey much easier.

I hope that those thoughts help a bit; good luck!

lzeduhelp21 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yann Martel writes a story that is rational and irrational at the same time. He believes that even something as rational as a number, which is foundational in how we as humans see the world, can also be irrational (such as the number pi, or 3.14…). An important element to Martel’s thinking encompasses how a reader can choose the story. The character Pi offers two stories, both true in some way, but each reader picks the best story according to their predisposition, their experiences, and their way of thinking. Martel’s interpretation of story and religion allows him to understand the complexities, or conflicting evidence, in faith and still be a believer. His view does not express a rigid understanding of religion, which can be very black and white. As Pi faces difficulties, he is able to express his story in a truthful way without literal details. Story is an important element of faith; when we cannot know all the details of our existence, we can still get to the truth of our origins by using the same technique Martel has in his book.