Life of Pi: Happy Endings Do Exist

All things must come to an end eventually. However, just because something ends doesn’t signify that it is negative. A happy ending is defined as “an ending of the plot of a work of fiction in which almost everything turns out for the best for the protagonists, their sidekicks, and almost everyone except the villains.” (CTI Reviews). In Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, the main character Pi Patel undergoes a horrific journey alone with a tiger on a lifeboat. For 227 days, he is stranded in the Atlantic Ocean living off of barely anything. In the end, Pi arrives back to civilization and lives out a new life as a better person, which is a happy ending for the novel. Overall, while there were a plethora of ramifications for Pi Patel, his experiences allowed him to be reborn as a better person.

One central and essential theme of Pi Patel’s life is religion. Throughout the story he develops a unique outlook on religion, believing that “all religions are true, [he] just wants to love God” (Martel, 69). Pi practices three religions at the same time, which brought the concept of God extremely close to Pi’s heart. This helps Pi cope with the mental pain of his experiences while also making /him a better person after he is saved. Every time when in the face of adversity, Pi turns to God for guidance and hope. Pi admits that sometimes “[his] heart was sinking so fast with anger, desolation, and weariness, [he] was afraid it would sink to the very bottom of the Pacific and [he] would not be able to lift it back up,” but “the blackness would stir and eventually go away, and God would remain, a shining point in [his] heart,” (Martel, 209).

This shining point in Pi’s heart was his only constant in an ever-changing environment of life or death. The daily routine of praying is a part of this constant that helps Pi keep his sanity during his journey. Without the presence of religion, Pi would have been more inclined to giving up and dying on the boat or staying at the floating island and living out a husk of a life. Religion taught Pi important life values that help him mentally survive through his journey and will continue positively impacting his life after being rescued.

The skills and lessons Pi learned on the boat created a happy ending for him through the permanent effect they had on his lifestyle. While on the lifeboat, Pi is forced to break moral codes and adapt to his cold environment in order to survive. Prior to his stranding Pi was strictly vegetarian, but he subdued to desperation and eventually begins eating fish. The first time he kills a fish, Pi states that “…all sentient life is sacred. I never forget to include this fish in my prayers,” (Martel, 183). Eventually, Pi gets to the point in which he is “gleefully bludgeoning to death a dorado,” (Martel, 185). However, Pi always values the lives that he takes in order to survive, even if he never values himself because of the wrongfulness of killing.

Pi admits to the “simple and brutal” fact that “a person can get used to anything, even killing,” (Martel, 185). Pi also gets used to the lack of simple resources and amenities, making him more appreciative of aspects of modern social life, such as running water. Also, Pi learns skills, such as how to fish and craft survival tools, not usually taught to those in “normal” lives. This contributes to Pi’s happy ending because it makes him a better person by having him appreciate and cherish the little things in life. Also, Pi learns information that makes him a more knowledgeable person and that might help him in the future. [add sentence]

Lastly, the life Pi creates for himself after his near-death journey is proof of his happy ending. Using his wits, willpower, and internal strength, Pi survives his 227-day voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. At first, Pi is “truly alone, orphaned not only of [his] family, but now of Richard Parker, and nearly…of God,” (Martel, 285). However, after Pi gets out of the hospital in Mexico, he goes to Canada where he is adopted by a new family where he still has God. He lives out his life and is always ready for any situation.

As referenced in the book, Pi keeps “his cupboards…jam-packed [with] …mountains of neatly stacked cans and packages,” (Martel, 25). His access to food his so wide now that he does not risk not having non-perishable food on hand for survival’s sake. While it can be argued as Pi being scarred by his experiences, it is truly him being cautious and protective of his family of a wife and two children, which come about later in his life in Canada. Pi’s family holds a special place in his life and is shown by the fact that Pi doesn’t talk about them to others unless prompted. As said in the novel, “life has taught [Pi] not to show off what is precious to him,” (Martel, 80). Pi follows this because on his journey he realizes that the things he values are too important to waste time sharing with others, and instead he should focus on making the most of the limited time he has left with them. Overall, Pi Patel learns the value of his loved ones and survives his journey, showing that the novel has a happy ending.

In truth, the novel Life of Pi has a misleadingly sad storyline until near the end where Pi’s life gets exponentially better. His troubles led to his life’s improvement, and without these obstacles, Pi would not have gained the appreciation for life that he retained for his whole life. In general, life will put hurdles up in front of anyone, but as long as the person jumps over these hurdles with confidence, they will become a better human being.