“Self” by Yann Martel

Yann Martel wrote his novel Self in 1996 and got the Pulitzer Price for it. The plot of the novel is rather twisted. Pi, the main character and narrator, tells a story of his childhood, moving to Canada, where he spends his youth attending private school, and at last moving to Portugal. On his 18th birthday, Pi opens his years in the morning and realizes that he is a woman. Now she enters university in Toronto, visits Thailand and Spain and starts writing. She has love affairs with both women and men. At last she meets her love Tito but being raped by her neighbor she turns back into a male.

The novel is devoted to such themes as faith in God, syncretism in religion, our self-inspiration and self-development and correlation between the science and the religion. Pi has a unique experience in his life which makes him believe that every person can choose his or her own story in life. People have a chance to choose a better story and make their life brighter, more interesting and imaginative in such a way. He is persuaded that own life and world is not a bare logical system, behind it stands some power and the belief in the divine nature of this power fills the life with sense. Pi also comes to an important thought trying to survive on the lifeboat during 227 days religion and science should be combined. So, one of the themes of the novel is the reconciliation of religion and science. Pi imbibes in himself principles of the three, at the first sight opposing, religions. However, we understand that the main aim of these religions is communication with God and knowing this universal principle, all the other differences lose their significance.

Unique author’s style helps him to deliver the main message of the work. He divides the text into parallel columns presenting translated passages side by side. He uses understatements, hyperboles, metaphors and mystical elements in order to make his novel imaginary and evident for readers. Structurally the story is divided into three parts and the composition of the novel corresponds with three stages of the main character’s emotions and mood. Part One describes childhood and that is why the mood of this part is childish, delighted and inspired.

Pi, the main character, is fascinated by wonders and marvels of the childhood. The spiritual mood starts dominating when Pi gets older and prepares for the trip to Canada, choosing his life way. This spiritual mood runs through the whole Part II, however, by the end of the part it changes into depressive one. Part III is devoted to the character’s inner changes and his presentation in the society. He wants the Japanese people to believe his mystical story and, at last, he manages to do it. The feeling of the whole satisfaction is the final feeling.

To sum up, the novel Self is devoted to the theme of self-search. The author uses an interesting way in to show inner transformation of the main character Pi turns into a female and than back into a male at the end of the novel. The themes or religion and science and their correlation are presented in a new and interesting way. The main character makes a long way searching a suitable religion and at last understands the most important thing: every religion helps people to a have a direct communication with God.

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