Today marks the 20th anniversary of Life of Pi! Not too long ago this novel was adapted into a film that was, as a matter of fact, very spot on to the book narrative. Very unusual for such an occurrence, however, where the artistry (credited to Ang Lee) is out-of-this-world stunning, both the film and the novel offer some rather valuable life lessons. Not to worry, the following content will not spoil anything for those who have not yet gotten to check either the book or movie out!
1. Treat everything, especially nature and wildlife, with kindness and grace.
The protagonist, Pi, learns this in multitudes throughout the story—most profoundly by being stranded alone in a boat (with a full-grown tiger, might I add) floating aimlessly in the middle of the ocean. Though they are not necessarily snuggling up with each other at night, they rely on one another for survival. This illustrates one key point: they share mutual respect. Around the world today, animals are being killed for sport, and thus dwindling on the brink of extinction. Not to mention the earth, environments, animals, and our oceans are suffering at the hands of mankind. When we begin to treat Mother Earth and her creatures with respect and kindness, we may just begin to experience changes in other areas of our lives as well.
2. Religion can be used as an essential tool in our lives.
Now, not everyone is religious or practices any at all; however, Life of Pi expresses that religion is more centered around an understanding of self. As a young boy, Pi explores many different religions while his father proceeds to laugh at these endeavors. As the story begins to unfold, we learn that religion is more than just a prayer to a higher power; it is about exploring a means to understand yourself, the world, and everything that lies beyond. This awareness can lead to a more happy life, more peace, and understanding for others and the world around us.
3. Being Alone Versus Being Lonely
Pi and his tiger friend try their best to make the most out of their solitude. They are alone, together, floating aimlessly into the vast unknown. Through their journey, they experience the wonderment of the sea, and as a reader (or viewer) you get to experience the magic of the connection that Pi and the wild animal share.
4. The Importance of Forgiveness
Pi has lost everything for absolutely no reason at all; his life simply blew up by no fault of his own. For most, this would create an unimaginable sense of resentment; however, he manages somehow to take every day one step at a time. He realizes that if he were to hold on to this anger, it would only hold him back. I feel like this is one of the most important life lessons taught by this book. There is a lot of anger and confusion in this world, especially in these past two years. We may never forget, but we can always learn to forgive.
5. Never Give Up
Ah yes, the obvious overarching theme. At times, Pi’s situation seems virtually impossible to overcome; however, he never gives up or loses hope. He never stops fighting, regardless of the seemingly incessant obstacles he faces along his treacherous journey. He always believed and had faith. Churchill once said, “When you’re going through hell, keep going.”