Yann Martel's Life of Pi as a reflection of the True Self

Variant title
La vie de Pi de Yann Martel comme le reflet du Vrai soi
Author: Aslani, Stella
Source document: The Central European journal of Canadian studies. vol. 10-11, iss. [1], pp. 91-106
  • ISSN
    1213-7715 (print)
    2336-4556 (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license
Works of Canadian animal literature educate us about animals, nature and, most importantly, ourselves. Life of Pi is such a work. To read Yann Martel's novel means to be confronted with a reflection of one's true self. The article investigates this phenomenon of literary self-confrontation by closely analysing three persistent themes in Life of Pi: anthropomorphism, religion and science, and self-perception. The analysis is broadened by introducing philosophical concepts of Giorgio Agamben, Helmuth Plessner and Jacques Derrida. The final step of the article is a revisiting of the themes in the light of philosophical background examined. What Life of Pi teaches us is that throughout our lives we adopt multiple interpretations of our self. It also teaches us that in order to have a chance to define our true self, we must first reconcile all the different interpretations we have of our self. The novel's proposed way to do that is through the rehabilitation of spirituality.
Dans la littérature canadienne, il y a des oeuvres qui nous informent sur les animaux, la nature et, surtout, sur nous-mêmes. Life of Pi de Yann Martel est une telle oeuvre, car elle nous confronte à notre être véritable. Cet article examine ce phénomène en analysant trois thèmes dans Life of Pi (l'anthropomorphisme, la religion et la science) mis en parallèle avec le thème de la perception de soi. L'analyse repose sur les concepts philosophiques de Giorgio Agamben, Helmuth Plessner et Jacques Derrida. La dernière section de l'article envisage ces thèmes à la lumière des fondements philosophiques plus récents. Ce que Life of Pi nous enseigne, c'est que, tout au long de notre vie, nous adoptons de multiples interprétations de nous-mêmes. La spiritualité joue un rôle majeur dans ces interprétations.
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