Free Study Guide for Life of Pi by Yann Martel Book Summary|
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Piscine loves growing up in the zoo. He sees beauty and perfection in
nature. He explains that the animals in the zoo are “happy” and would
find being “free” disagreeable because they have established their territories,
free of predators, in their zoo enclosures. Like humans in their own houses,
the animals each have their own “compressed territory where basic needs
can be fulfilled close by and safely.” Piscine goes on to cite instances
where animals have had the opportunity the escape and did not. He says
that animals in the wild do not have true freedom because they are restricted
by time, space, predation, etc. and must constsntly defend themselves.
He concludes saying that people have the same misconceptions about zoos
as that have about religion.
Piscine begins his justification of zoos saying, “I have heard nearly as much nonsense about zoos as I have about God and religion.” He continues on for over four pages about animals in zoos, not mentioning religion again until the end where he compares religion and zoos once again, with no explanation. To understand the analogy, consider what Piscine said about animals in the wild compared to animals in the zoo. The zoo animals have a framework around them that makes it so much easier to meet their needs that they do not want to leave. Perhaps Martel is suggesting that humans also need something more than “freedom”, a framework (i.e. God, religion) to make it easier to meet human needs so that our lives are more than “lives of compulsion and necessity”
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Cassie, Donna L.. "TheBestNotes on Life of Pi".
. 09 May 2017