Thursday, January 23, 2014

"The Life of Pi" and the "Average Citizen"

There is something I have been meaning to confide to the internet.

People I know have been watching "The Life of Pi", a movie according to the book of Yann Martel.

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Look at that nasty Tiger.  Something of an anti-Aslan, wouldn't you say?

When I read the book about 10 years ago, after it first appeared, I enjoyed it and the realization at the end hit me like a ton of bricks.  I had thought that I had "got it" and I knew that the Tiger was Pi, and that I also am Tiger and Pi.

But every time I meet someone else who has read the book or watched the movie and I want to see what they think about it--that person won't agree with me.  "What?  The Tiger is Pi?"  -- Em.  Who do you think he is and what does it mean?--The last suggestion someone made to me was that the Tiger is God.

Ok, I read the book a long time ago, and I can't now work out that train of thought.  How can the Tiger be God.  I suppose, if the Tiger is Pi's ego, and the ego is my "god", then Tiger can be "god", small "g".

What baffles me is the conviction held by my conversation partners that the Tiger is NOT Pi.  NO, No, No.  We don't have here a sudden surprise of "Oh!  The Tiger is Pi!".  NO it's  "Pi is NOT the Tiger!!!"

They don't seem to want the Tiger to be Pi.

Since all the details of the book are not with me any more after all this time, I try and get them to explain it to me.  Perhaps, after all, I am wrong.  Maybe the Tiger is not Pi.  Alas, in the end we googled it, seeing that we now live in the 2010's.  Who has not all the answers at their fingertips?

And guess what:  the Tiger is Pi's "alter-ego." --!!! Well, that should settle it.

They still don't like it.  Don't like it.  Don't like it...  couldn't be.

I said, did you know that starving people in Ukraine under Stalin ate their own children (Bloodlands, Snyder)?  Did you know that the embarrassing fact of famines is that people laps into cannibalism?

Ah, all that non-fiction comes in handy.

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