What do Pi's faith and his religious practices add to the story of this young man with his ability to survive? How does this create a life story with a happy ending?  

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Pi is an Indian boy (a Hindu majority country) immigrating to Canada (a Christian majority country) who declares that he is not only Hindu (the religion into which he was born) but also Catholic and Muslim. Religion is an important theme in Yann Martel's Life of Pi—indeed the narrator tells us that this tale is one that would make one "believe in God." However, in the case of Pi, "gods" might be more appropriate. The book makes references throughout to the Bible, the Quran, and even Kabbalah. Even the name of the ship, Tsimtsum, is a Hebrew word, which refers to God's contraction into himself in order to make room for the unfolding of the physical universe. Pi's wreck can also be read as allusive to the tale of Noah's ark. The devastating loss that Pi suffers and his 227-day isolation on the raft causes him to seek answers to deep existential questions, and he finds that the different religions in which he has faith provide him those answers. His belief is central to his ability to survive. One might say that Pascal's wager is key to understanding Pi's faith. This is what the early modern French philosopher Blaise Pascal says:

Whether God exists or not, we should believe in Him, for we suffer nothing by our wrong belief if He does not exist, while we gain an infinitude for our faith if He does.

Pi believes in the gods of three different religions, and he seems to be in agreement with Pascal about the "infinitude" to be gained from belief. His religious beliefs imply that he is not dogmatic about religion, and he finds that faith in a higher power lends meaning to our lives.

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