The Better Story
In the novel Life of Pi, Pi Molitor tells a story in which he survives at sea for two hundred and twenty seven days with a four hundred and fifty pound Bengal tiger. When he reaches land, the Japanese transportation ministers do not believe the story. As a result Pi retells the story but instead of animals he used humans. Nevertheless the Japanese transportation ministers believe the animal story, which is the better story, despite their disbelief. Pis faith in God made him survive the journey on the Pacific Ocean. Without his faith and trust in God, he would have given up. One starts to lose faith in the better story simply because Pi gives another version of the story in part three. The fact that there is no evidence to justify anything that happened makes the readers lean more toward the human story. One needs to have faith in a higher being in order to make ordinary events less blunt. The more skeptical one gets, the weaker the faith therefore making it harder to let go and believe the better story.
The animal story sounds fictitious. When Pi tells the Japanese transportation ministers the animal story; it sounded make belief and imaginary. After the interview they concluded that they do not believe what Pi just told them.
Im sorry to say it so bluntly, we dont mean to hurt your feelings, but you dont really expect us to believe you, do you? Carnivorous trees? A fish-eating algae that produces fish water? Tree-dwelling aquatic rodents? These things do not exist.(Martel 326)
All these elements of the animal story seem imaginary because we dont hear about such
things on a daily basis. Since people do not hear about such incidents, they choose to
assume that they are untrue. The ministers question the details of Pis story to the point that they fail to believe the better story.
While reading the book, the reader suspends their disbelief until given the option of a second story. Pi does this because they are so skeptical and decides to provide them with a story that they will believe. I know what you want. You want a story that wont surprise youheres another story.(Martel 336) In the second story, there are no animals. It includes his mother, a French cook and a sailor with a broken leg. Both versions of the story have the same plotline however the second story is more inhumane. Pi was born into Hinduism and was not aware of any other religions. When he grew up he learned about Islam and Christianity. He then starts to focus on all three religions which take away his dedication to one faith. When one is taught something they rarely question it but once one is given options, it weakens their faith instead of building it and therefore could it cloud their judgment.
The fact that there was no evidence to justify the better story filled the Japanese transportation ministers with doubt and confusion. They expected Pi to have some sort of proof. Getting back to the tigerNot a trace of it has been found. Thats a bit hard to believe. (Martel 329) Pi hoped that they would have faith and choose the better story which was not the case. One must be able to take a risk by not limiting their imagination. Unfortunately the ministers were relying on proof which was not present. The only evidence that Pi had was Richard Parker and he disappeared as soon as they reached the shore. Since Pi could not provide evidence, the ministers lost faith in the better story even though they ended up publishing that version in the end.
There are questions in life that will never be answered. If the boat, Pi, Richard Parker and the Pacific Ocean are all real then why is it hard to believe that they were all in the same situation at once? If one has never experienced or heard of an experience like the animal story, they are prone to agree with the human story simply because it is more relatable. The debate on which version of the story is the true is left to the reader to determine for themselves. As a reader one has a difficult time believing the better story because one lacks faith to let go and believe. The fact that Pi gives a second version of the story makes one wonder whether he made it up to give the ministers what they wanted to hear or the actual truth. Either way both stories had the same plot and did not contain any evidence. In the end the ministers let go and learn to have faith in Pi. The importance of believing the animal story shows how much faith one has. It can either build ones faith or weaken it.