LITERATURE: Life of Pi – Sorting It Out

Not that I would take a novelist's opinion on religion any more as fact than I do some movie star's slant on politics, when there is a seed of thought to ponder, a different perspective, it's always an added bonus to a story:

I can well imagine an atheist's last words: "White, white! L-L-Love! My God!"–and the deathbed leap of faith. Whereas the agnostic, if he stays true to his reasonable self, if he stays beholden to dry, yeastless factuality, might try to explain the warm light bathing him by saying, "Possibly a f-f-failing oxygenation of the b-b-brain," and, to the very end, lack imagination and miss the better story. (p. 80)

Pi has just embraced the Muslim religion–in addition to the pull of Christianity and his own beloved Hindu. His curiosity has led him into further study and practice and he seems to find something of value in each. What he has also thought about is the importance of the moral sense, which he feels is more important to seek and follow than an intellectual understanding of things, and this is what brought him to the statement quoted above.

Martel interjects a different timeline, one that is future to the story of Pi's childhood and teenage years. In there he has considered the words of a friend who gave him the phrase "dry, yeastless, factuality,"

It's a wonderful phrase and yet I wonder if it depicts accurately a philosophy; I would think that facts, though perhaps lacking imagination once they've been established, instead are truly based and dependent upon man's imagination to discover them. "Yeastless" would indicate inability to grow, and yet many of the "dryest" facts are mere building blocks of creativity that continues outward. Otherwise, the wheel would not have bred the car.

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