Perceptions Shaped by Other People in Life of Pi, a Book by Yann Martel

Perceptions Shaped by Other People

Perception is the ability to become aware of something through sense. In the Life of Pi, change of perception is inevitable coupled by several encounters that Pi went through in his life. Pi’s perception of wild animals, especially tiger, was shaped by his father. Santosh Patel, Pi’s father owned a zoo. The Zoo had both friendly and ferocious wild animals. According to Martel’s narration of Pi’s story, Pi was young when his father started the Zoo.

As Pi and his siblings grew up, their father realized that the children might end up playing around with the animals in the Zoo thinking that they were pets. He summoned them all, together with the mother, and showed them around the Zoo. Santosh did make the children understand that Tiger, Richard Parker, was the most dangerous animal in the Zoo. “Tigers are very dangerous,” Father shouted. “I want you to understand that you are never under any circumstances-to touch a tiger, (p.


From that day, the children perceived that tiger was the deadliest animal of all in the zoo. The perception was instilled by Pi’s father with the hope ensuring the safety of his children. Pi’s perception of different religions was shaped by his contact with the various groups. Pi was born and brought up as a Hindu. At the age of fourteen, while on holiday, he came across a church and had an urge of going in there to see what is going on there and how it looks like.

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Initially, he did not go inside, but he peeped in. He saw a priest and admired him. He also admired to see the priest folding his hands on the table and pray. Pi realized that the priest was there to serve the people by giving them spiritual and moral support. He says, “I was filled with a sense of peace. But more than the setting, what arrested me was my intuitive understanding that he was there-open, patient-in case someone, anyone, should want to talk to him” (p.29) To further explore Christianity, Pi visited the church and met Father Martin who told him the story of Jesus who died because of the human sins. Father Martin shaped Pi’s perception of Christianity. Pi was moved to realize that Jesus died because of the sins of many people. He admired Christianity and asks Father Martin, “Father, I would like to be a Christian, please” and his wish was granted (p.32). He later became a Christian contrary to his parent’s wish. His realization of Christianity and how it is conducted shaped his perception of other religions. He realized that Christians are good and there is nothing wrong practicing Christianity.

Moreover, Pi understanding and perception of Islam and atheism changed when he met with the people who practice them. At the age of fifteen, he met an Islam believer working at a bakery who was an Islam. He realized that Islam believers were devoted to prayers. To his surprise, there was nothing weird about Islam, and he says, “Islam is nothing but an easy sort of exercise” (p.34). He recognizes Islam as a religion of devotion and brotherhood. When he met with an atheist, he realized that they had a different opinion and faith. Their faith was that God does not exist. Conclusively, Pi’s perception of different issues was shaped by the people around him. The contact with new things in life gave him an opportunity to explore them. The contact with the Tiger in the zoo and the contact with other religions changed his perception of them.

Work cited

  1. Martel, Yann. Life of pi. Canongate Books, 2002.

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Perceptions Shaped by Other People in Life of Pi, a Book by Yann Martel. (2021, Dec 15). Retrieved from

Perceptions Shaped by Other People in Life of Pi, a Book by Yann Martel
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