In Life of Pi, what is Pi seeking from a combination of three religions?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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If we have a look at Chapter Sixteen, we gain an insight into what Pi finds attractive about each of the central religions. He is keen, above all, to understand his place in the universe, and this is what each of the major religions do in slightly different ways. They allow Pi to find stories that help him to explain his presence and existence on this planet. The importance of stories in the novel is overwhelming, as Pi's life seems to be a voyage through different stories that can be used to describe the same "reality."

Pi in this chapter talks about the way that above all we "should not cling" to any one central understanding of God, using a Hindu story to point out the dangers of doing so. By relating fundamentalists to Kirshna's milkmaids, who are able to enjoy his presence until they become possessive, Pi makes a powerful case against "fundamentalists and literalists" that he objects so much to. The chapter ends with the similarities that exist between the three religions:

...Hindu's, in their capacity for love, are indeed hairless Christians, just as Muslims, in the way they see God in everything, are bearded Hindus, and Christians, in thier devotion to God, are hat-wearing Muslims.

To Pi, then, he is ultimately after stories that will help to explain his reality and place in the universe. Where these stories come from are irrelevant.

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