There are many metaphors for faith in Life of Pi and there is a constant undertone of faith in the film.
First of all, in my opinion, the most interesting exploration of faith, within the film, is when the future characters of older Pi and the Canadian author are discussing faith. Pi talks about how faith is a house and it has many rooms. This is a metaphor for the many faiths of the world. Pi then continues and answers the author’s questions an mentions how there is a lot of space for doubt. This is a wonderful representation of faith, it shows beautifully how there are so many faiths and how they are all closely linked. This is shown because all the rooms of faith are in the same house and there are many of these rooms. It represents how it is important to doubt religion and how that is healthy. Furthermore, I think it has a subtle indication of how it is important to keep the doors of each room open. This is very interesting. I think Ang Lee is trying to say that it is important to have an open mind and has shown this throughout the film. This has been made more clear because Pi belongs to many religions and continues to consider different faiths and explores each of them despite his father’s advice. I think Ang Lee is trying to get across the message that it is important to have an open mind.
The beauty of faith and the acceptance of faiths is also shown in the film. The beauty of faith is shown when Pi is young and is with his mother at a festival of sorts. There are people releasing lanterns and throwing roses onto a depiction of a God. The acceptance of faith is shown when Pi is dared by his brother to go down to the church and drink the holy water. Ang Lee creates tension well using lighting and a camera angle from behind Pi making the viewer unsure about what is behind the camera. There is a release of tension when the priest comes out with a glass of water and is accepting of Pi. He is not angry as the viewer would expects and instead invites Pi into the church and is kind to him.
The other representation of faith in the film is when Pi is on the boat and is losing faith. When Pi eventually loses faith, his life is saved because he finds land. I think the whole journey on the boat is a representation of how your faith must be tested and you must keep faith to survive. Pi does incredibly well at keeping his faith and until he and Richard Parker reach the verge of death he has strong faith in survival. There are parts where there is clearly revealed. The main area where it is shown is when they are in a violent storm and he is screaming at the sky and * light shines through the clouds and Pi clearly feels elated. He takes the tarpaulin off of the boat and shows Richard Parker. This is because he thinks he is seeing God, this also seems to represent ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. The storm continues and Pi manages to retreat back into the boat.
These are the main areas where I noticed a representation of faith. There is a strong undertone throughout the film. I think the main message is that you must not be ignorant, you must have an open mind and keep your options open. If you have faith and keep faith you will be rewarded. This message about faith is so strong that it managed to make me consider whether I have an open enough mind. I am an atheist and have a strong belief in my views. I do not believe in God and have never really considered believing in God. I think this is because I have always had a strong belief that God doesn’t exist. The film didn’t manage to convince me to consider faith but it did manage to make me rethink how open minded I am.
* This is of course from memory. There may be some issues with factual accuracy and also issues with chronology.
On the subject of faith I would like to ask you whether you think it would be acceptable for me to open a conversation with the school about the use of the Lord’s prayer in assembly. I would like to open this conversation because we have a diversity of faith in our community and the school has nothing recognizable to me indicating that it is christian or church of England. I may be wrong. I just think that it is not fair to have the Lord’s prayer read out in assembly and not present equal opportunities for other children of different religions to pray at this time. If the school presented itself as christian, I would have no problem with it. However, as it is not apparent to me that school does present itself as christian then I believe that either the christian prayer should be taken away or children of other religions should be given equal opportunities to pray. It’s all about equality, right? 😀
Interesting word of the day: Katzenjammer – an uproar / uneasiness / hangover. I thought I’d add this because I found it interesting.