Monday, November 23, 2009

Journal #3:

Despite the horrific circumstances that are experienced by Pi Patel, the main character, in Life of Pi, the author manages to tastefully incorporate a charming element of dark humour into the novel. This aids in both lightening to the mood and entertaining the reader by avoiding a simple "doom and gloom" mentality towards the situation. A sickly hilarious example of this occurs on pages 254 to 255, where Pi’s lifeboat (which has been shipwrecked on for many months) encounters a whale in the water. The author sets us up the anecdote, in what seems in hindsight to be somewhat of a prank, by describing a whale looking for a mate which brushes up against the boat. After seeing the first one, several more appear, "a short-lived archipelago of volcanic islands." The weary Pi continues on, describing how he was convinced they understood his condition. He imagines what they are saying as they witness the boat and relays his interpretations to us. "‘Oh! It’s the castaway with the pussy cat [(Bengal tiger)] Bamphoo was telling me about. Poor boy. Hope he has enough plankton... I wonder if there isn’t a ship around I could alert... I’ll try to help. My name’s Pimphoo.’" Pi’s character names the whales Bamphoo, Mumphoo, Tomphoo, Stimphoo, and Pimphoo–adorable names for loveable creatures. Unfortunately, however, the author ends the anecdote with an unhappy ending that I couldn’t help laughing at. "And so, through the grapevine, every whale of the Pacific knew of me," he says, "and I would have been saved long ago if Pimphoo hadn’t sought help from a Japanese ship whose dastardly crew harpooned her, the same fate as befell Lamphoo at the hands of a Norwegian ship." He ends the anecdote with, "The hunting of whales is a heinous crime." By adding a bit of dark humour to the story, the reader becomes more enticed

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