e a m harris

Roaming the byways of literature

Archive for the tag “Life of Pi”

30 Day Book Challenge – day 26: A book I wish would be written


A book I would love to read would be the imaginary biography or autobiography of Richard Parker. (Note, just in case you don’t know: Richard Parker is the tiger in Yann Martel’s Life of Pi.)

I’ve always thought that giving him a human name was a brilliant move. It makes him seem more of a character, less of a stereotype. In googling for this post I came across a Wikipedia entry for Richard Parker (shipwrecked) which lists several real and fictional Richard Parkers. Apparently it’s from these stories that Martel got the name.

He had an exciting life: captured as a cub, locked up in a zoo, transported on a ship and shipwrecked, on a lifeboat with a boy, finally free in a Mexican jungle. What happened after that? I’d love to know.

I’m sure that in the end he had (or will have) a dignified death.

Picture from Wikimedia Commons.

30 Day Book Challenge – day 14: A book that should be on school and college reading lists

For this day I’ve chosen The Life of Pi by Yann Martel. There are several reasons:

  • the prose of much of the book is worth reading just for itself
  • by being so imaginative it stretches the imagination – IMHO this is particularly important for young people
  • the writing about animals encourages a reassessment of our relationship with them
  • it raises and explores issues about things like survival, reality, the importance of religion
  • the ambiguity of the end allows the reader space to come to their own conclusions about what it all means

life of pi cover artOne of the main things I took away from my reading was the importance of what we name our fellow creatures. The tiger, Richard Parker, has a human name and I found I had a completely different view of him than if he’d been called an animal-style name like Stripey or Felix. Of course, this has been known for a long time, but it hadn’t been a point I’d ever given much thought to.

If you haven’t read this book, I recommend it. If you haven’t seen the film I recommend that too – it’s beautiful, colourful and gripping.

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