Symbolism In Yann Martel’s Life Of Pi And Beach Glass, By Amy Clampitt

1530 words - 7 pages

The literary device of symbolism appears in a vast amount of stories and novels. When everyday words actually mean something completely different, it exemplifies the meaning of the word symbolism. Symbolism usually takes a keen understanding of the work and how the author views the particular work. Symbolism presents itself in the novel Life of Pi: A Novel in copious amounts. Yann Martel placed many words with different meanings well and throughout Life of Pi: A Novel. The short story “Beach Glass” also obtains a lot of symbolism and these symbols compare akin and contrary to the representations found within the story Life of Pi: A Novel. Pollution, dwellings, and the ocean all appear as ...view middle of the document...

Pollutants in both stories readily hurt people or animals without discrimination. The island that contained man eating plants in Life of Pi: A Novel depicts another type of pollution that infests the oceans. The island, like pollution, attacks with “random impartiality” (Clampitt 701). (Martel 250-319)
The different pollutants from the stories also contrast with each other. The waste found in “Beach Glass” tends to have a longer lasting pollution. The contamination found in Life of Pi occurs quicker and more physical. The “Beach Glass” environmental condition might take decades to develop to the same severity as the condition in Life of Pi: A Novel. Animals and people run into “driftwood, cans, and residue” (Clampitt 701) all the time without receiving altering effects. Trash and debris on the side of the road exemplifies normalcy in everyday life. Lack of litter and trash would cause a bigger attraction than the addition of pollution does in everyday life. Contrary to the contamination contained in Life of Pi: A Novel, where running into a cannibal and man eating island leads to direct action and consequences. The pollution found during Pi’s journeys acts as a fast acting and immediate threat pollution. It does not take decades for this pollution to build up and pose the same threat as the pollution within “Beach Glass”. (Martel 250-319)
Dwellings in both “Beach glass” and Life of Pi: A Novel contain symbolism. Both Pi and the sea life, forced from their respective houses by different things, attempt to survive in the ocean unprotected. The Tiger, Richard Parker, took over the small boat Pi inhabited, while pollution disrupted and kicked out the fish from their homes. The small boat for Pi kept him safe from the ocean’s waves and the hot sun. While the reefs protected the fish and other sea life from predators and the ocean currents that bring harmful effects. Without homes, Pi and the fish must survive in harsh climates with death always looming around the corner. Both the fish and Pi see their survival and salvation within their homes. Their homes, invaded and polluted, remain inaccessible. The boat and the reefs symbolize life and normalcy to Pi and the fish. Without their life vest, so to speak, they live in the unkind and cruel ocean. They have to submit to the oceans wims and choices. But, unlike the fish, Pi remains positive and not “hopeless” (Clampitt 701). Pi keeps working his way back his salvation by feeding Richard Parker and trying to become friends with the tiger. Pi understands that to survive, he must use every resource and possibility to regain the boat. While the fish decide to give up, Pi clings on to hope and ends up surviving.
The entities that occupy the reefs and the boat exemplify difference also. A giant man eating tiger occupies the small boat Pi longs for. While pollution wrecks havoc among the “houses” (Clampitt 701) the fish once called home. Both instances appear out of the control of both Pi and the sea...

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