What are the similar emotional journeys that Pi and Amir take in The Kite Runner and The Life of Pi?  How are the endings of these journeys emotionally similar? 

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One similarity between the emotional journeys that Pi and Amir take is how both of them become convinced that they are not alone.  Pi recognizes that his love for the divine is what accompanies him throughout his journey.  He understands that the mere aspect of surviving the wreck means that the divine is with him. Initially, Pi feels forlorn.  Yet, he recognizes that the divine is not going to leave him and as a result, Pi understands that true meaning of spiritual faith and religious identity.  This is the experience that enables Pi to understand that he is not alone.  In a similar manner, Amir recognizes that he is not alone.  Amir leaves Afghanistan to escape the clutches of his past. In his immigration to America, he believes that he is not connected to anyone else.  Over the course of his journey back to Afghanistan, it becomes clear that he, too, is not alone.  He is connected to the suffering of his country and his people.  His willingness to stand up to Assef as well as taking Sohrab in as his own are examples of his understanding of connection to others.  When he acknowledges this sins of his own past and the transgressions of his father, Amir accepts that his identity is linked to other people.  Both Pi and Amir have to endure emotionally challenging journeys in order to recognize that their sense of identity is linked to others.  They are not alone.  Rather, who they are and who they hope to be is dependent on the presence of others.

It is in this regard where the endings of both journey are also similar.  Both journeys speak to how the basic understanding that each character initially started with is validated as a result of their journey.  This is the case with Pi, as he is able to speak to his Japanese inquisitors in a direct manner that underscores a faith in the divine that never left:

So tell me, since it makes no factual difference to you and you can't prove the question either way, which story do you prefer? Which is the better story, the story with animals or the story without animals?

Pi's journey has led him back to his original love of the divine.  It is a love that endured the rationalism of others, like his father, who embraces pragmatism and a material grounding, and even the inquisitors.   Pi's love of the divine is evident in how "it makes no factual difference" whether the external world validates or invalidates his love in the divine.  I think that this is where Pi's journey has led him back to the same place.  It is a voyage that ended up acknowledging that his own doubts can be put to rest because "it makes no factual difference."  Pi's reverence for the divine will not dissipate despite the doubts of others.  In much the same way, Amir's journey ends the same way it began in terms of kite running.  The very same ceremonial joy he experienced with Hassan is what he experiences with Sohrab, Hassan's child.  In this way, Amir has come to an understanding about who he is and what is important to him, validating his own past in the presence of the future.  Both Amir and Pi end their journey underscoring what they recognized earlier on in their narratives.  In this regard, the journey towards identity has ended in its movement towards full circle.

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