Inner Journeys Frost and Martel

Essay by sungkwoHigh School, 11th gradeC+, April 2009

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As the travelers hikes through the inner journey, he would no doubt be confronted by his deepest fears, and for Pi’s his inner journey begins when “everything he values in life is destroyed” and thus “he is orphaned in the middle of the Pacific”. With no sense of belonging to the situation, he’s understandably afraid, and this is reflected on the darker tone and the use of short, skeletal sentences running parallel its imagery of “ being swallowed by the abstract black darkness” together with its conceit of death, gives an insight to Pi’s fractured state of mind. The fear of the uncertainty is also shown in “A tree fallen across the road”, where the speaker of the poem, which through its inclusive nouns happen to be the responder, ‘hear’, ‘Crash of wood’ then right after we ‘see’ ‘throws down in front of us’. This use of active imagery combined with the onomatopoeia, reflects the sudden surprise of the traveler, of being approached by the fear.

Disaster strikes when we let the fear take control of us. I describes, fear as “the only life’s true opponent” and competently compares the elopement of fear as a battle between two forces, The personification and the abstract imagery accentuates the devious qualities of being consumed by fear. I In “A tree…” the fear is described as a falling log, and this fear brought to life by the tempest its is described. This use of metaphoric technique reveals to the composer that fear has a mind of its own, it acts its own way. This inhibits the movement of the travelers to the journey’s destination.

Thus, the only way forward in an inner journey is to control our fear. For Pi the physical manifestation of all his fears is Richard Parker, the five hundred pound tiger, and crazily enough, comes to understand that “it was not me and him, it was him and me”. Thus the only way to guarantee his survival was by say taming the tiger. While not explicitly mentioned, the implement of this idiom, ironically helps us to further understand the ferocity of the fear. After he decides to overcome his fear, Pi says that “his fear was dominated, and thus “his panic was gone.” This story, of life of pi is notable for its metaphysical structure, and through its flashbacks, Martel himself, states that “this story will have an happy ending”, and throughout this story of conflicting interpretations, reveals to us the core importance of the inner journey, the willingness of a human to overcome his fear, and thus is an allegory to the human condition.

This theme is paralleled in “A tree...”, in which the composer uses the tree is a symbolic gesture for an universal fear, thus the inclusive pronouns in the poem, such as we, and us. In the beginning of stanza three, comments that “Yet, she knows the obstruction is in vain, we will not be put off by our final goal.” Once again, the composer uses the personification to bring fear to life, explicitly states that the fear will not be able to put us off our final goal, thus humanity will overcome the battle with fear. This explicit statement contrasts with the vagueness of the rest of the poem, and thus shows us that the only certainty and the most important part is the human’s ability to overcome their fears.

Martel, Yann(Life of Pi)[2001]