Pi learns about Islam, Catholicism, and Hinduism. He does so of his own accord—much to the chagrin of his parents and brother who find his behavior bizarre. But Pi loves all three religions in spite of (or perhaps because of) their contradictions. Thus, he is able to believe many different stories about the same situation at the same time.
This helps Pi on the lifeboat because he is able to view the horror he sees in different light, one that allows him to process the events and ultimately survive. He is overwhelmed by what he sees, so he tells a different story. No one can prove which story is factually true, and it doesn't really matter. Pi simply asks the investigators at the end which story they prefer.
Pi is a very spiritual and religious teenager. He converts to Hinduism, Islam and Christianity! It is no surprise, then, that he would turn to God during the biggest trial of his life. Pi is also very intellectual and reasonable; so, he draws upon everything in his life to help him...
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