Well, I’ve got to say I wasn’t particularly keen on watching this movie. I knew it was based on a young man adrift at sea with a tiger and that really wasn’t pulling me in ..
It happened to be on tv last night and for some reason for the first time since it’s release I did feel drawn to watch it.. and I have to say it was truly beautiful – visually and the storyline.
Much more complex than I had imagined and deeply meaningful – even made me cry in parts..
Check out the interpretation regarding Pi and PTSD below. I felt a strong connection to the religious elements and how that interplayed with the trauma. I had a similar experience.
If you haven’t already seen this movie – consider watching it, it’s too good to miss!
An aspiring Canadian author interviews the Indian storyteller Pi Patel to hear the firsthand account of his adventures.
The Life of Pi hero Piscine (also known just as “Pi”) recounts his upbringing in French-occupied India, where his father owned a zoo. When Pi’s family business fails, they embark on a sea voyage with the zoo animals (in cargo) to Canada to begin a new life.
One night aboard their Japanese cargo ship , a violent and deadly storm hits and sinks nearly all that Pi holds dear.
He survives in a lifeboat with several of their zoo animals, including a fearsome Bengal tiger.
In a struggle to survive, Pi and the tiger forge an unexpected connection that gives him daily motivation to live.
Life of Pi is a tale of faith, hope, and the fight to survive.
While Pi’s adventure unfolds in a magically real way, by the ending of Life of Pi, however, we are left to wonder about the overall truthfulness of Piscine’s story, much like the journalist who plans to write a book about Pi’s adventures. Is Piscine’s fantastic version of events “real” or is he just a storyteller and exaggerator.
There are many interpretations to account for the dreamlike and almost surreal quality of Piscine’s adventures in Life of Pi.
One interpretation of Piscine’s story may focus on the impact of psychological stress and the onset of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Pi experiencing dissociation in order to survive his reality.
Piscine is not necessarily lying about his island adventures with a tiger, but his memory may have been severely impaired by the trauma, death, murder, cannibalism, 227 days at sea, the overwhelming despair of the shipwreck, and the loss of his family.
Like many trauma survivors, Piscine may have blocked out the ‘truth’ and rewritten history in order to survive. And his religious and spiritual background used as a coping mechanism to help give him a sense of meaning and beauty beyond the horrific events.
From the author
Even the author, Yann Martel wanted it to remain the mystery when asked about which is the true story. In this interview he speaks:
Reality isn’t just “out there”, like some block of cement: reality is an interpretation. In a sense we co-create our reality. And we do that all the time, every day. One day we wake up and we’re in a great mood, the city we live in is a beautiful city, the next day it’s an ugly city. That’s just the way we interpret things. We’re not free necessarily to choose the facts of our life, but there is an element of freedom in how we interpret them.
What I was trying to do in this book was try and discuss how we interpret reality – most secular readers will read the book and say ‘Ah, okay, there’s one story told and actually something else happened, and Pi ‘invented’ this other story to pass the time, or make his reality bearable. That’s the secular. The other one, the more religious interpretation, would just be the story you’re reading and that’s what happened…