Duality In Yann Martel's Life Of Pi

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In The Life of Pi, Yann Martel creates a juxtaposition of realities that requires the reader to choose which is better. The first requires the reader to suspend their disbelief and embark on a fantastic journey in which anthropomorphism consumes reality; the second requires the reader to understand the animal-like behavior of barbaric humans. This dualistic situation where both realities conflict but align simultaneously creates an alternative domain which highlights the ambiguity of human nature.
The first reality, in this dualistic situation, creates a place of refuge for Pi while providing him the inner ambition and strength to survive. The overwhelming scenario that Pi has been entangled with is a labyrinth of stress, hardship, and brutality.
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Doubt is not a question through the majority of the story, because Martel is able to suspend the reader’s disbelief through his use of verisimilitude. However, Martel shifts his novel from reasonable to implausible. Pi’s encounter with the blind traveler and his fortunate wash up on the floating island push the reader’s acceptance to the limit. The reader begins to question the story’s validity to the extent that some request, “’…a story without animals that will explain the sinking of the Tsimtsum.’” (Martel 303). Pi then introduces the second story which excludes animals, blind men, and floating islands. This story, of course, seems more realistic, however, Martel is not aiming toward realism; he is aiming toward human nature. Martel presents the audience with two stories, each representing its own ideas. The reader must make a choice as to which one he or she prefers, which accentuates the ambiguity in human nature and illustrates the relativism of truth. Doubt, having been created by the unrealistic elements in the first story, drives the reader away from the first story, however, the detail and specification of it draws the reader in. This dualistic situation in which both stories seem to exist simultaneously allows Martel to illustrate the skepticism and uncertainty of human

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