external image dws-t-is-one-Existentialism.jpgTHIS PAGE IS FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS TO EXPLORE THE CONCEPT OF existentialism AND HOW IT RELATES TO LIFE OF PI.

Please do not delete others' work; if you disagree with a point they are making, simply disagree respectfully with your evidence and ideas.

Questions to think about:
  1. What is existentialism? It helps up persue meaning in existance. It looks carefully at the actions, freedoms, and responbilities of animals. It changes based on human actions.Decisions are the basis for existentialism.

external image cognitive.jpg Spenser H, Kyle F, Aaron A, Dave A
  1. Where do you see elements of the absurd, the questioning of mankind, the essence of self and existence, etc. in this novel?
  2. Looking at Chapter 90-91, how do you interpret these chapters to be examples of existentialism?
  3. How does the belief that existentialism has a bleak outlook on life and their feeling of alienation and despair of modern people fit with Pi's experiences?
  4. Existentialism says that we are born of nothingness and that we leave this world as nothing, if we do not find our meaning. How does this idea fit with Pi's belief in religions?
  5. Existentialists also say that the smallest, most absurd, even basic, actions are leading us to our meaning.
  6. Think about Pi's 227 days at sea, how are these minor events, minor details, how are these leading to his understanding of self?
Nature Group- Brian Leak, Logan Theissen, Kelly Edwards
Blog in Progress
  1. Existentialism is the idea of trying to define a life and its subsidiary concepts using everyday experiences. Existentialism involves a person self-determining their specific meaning in life and becoming responsible for their own actions.
  2. Pi sees many elements of the absurd when he lands on the algae sustaining island. Mankind in general is partial to questioning their place on earth and if there is a higher power, but Pi more specifically questions whether people will miss him or his family.
5. Pi's life has consisted of a lot of major events. Anywhere from his dad showing him the tiger being fed a goat, to the sinking of the boat, to the hyena killing the zebra. But even though these events have significantly shaped his life, Pi has had more of an influence on his life with little events. These events can be in the changes between something as small as Pi catching a fish, to when Pi doesn’t get food at all. His experiences run all over the gamete, and can have any influence on any life.
5. I agree with the existentialists when they say that the smallest, most absurd, even basic actions are leading us to our meaning. When a person walks into the drugstore that will be robbed in twenty minutes when there were several other stores they could have gone to, or people who meet their future spouses at a pizza parlor or at the bank five minutes before they close. Who would have thought? You can't find luck, luck has to find you. Existentialists are really trying to get people to understand that most of what happens in your life happens to you, and you really have no control over it. Life is out of our hands.
6. If I were to assume that everything Pi said were true in the first story he told, then the mention of a self-sustaining, carnivorous, free floating island would contribute to Pi's distrust of everything that seems unusually perfect. If I were to combine the possibly fabricated story witht the second story that was told, I think the island woud be symbolic for Pi living in a world where he thought he was safe, but the environment itself was filled with many dangers. If I were to assume that Pi was really the tiger all along, Pi would be afraid of what kind of damage he himself (or his own kind) would cause. The island is fillled with millions of unsuspecting meerkats that have no idea that Richard Parker will eat them. They are aware that their environment is dangerous, but they do not understand a predator prey relationship. This reminds me of the passengers in the boat (Sailor, Pi's mother, Pi) that are aware that their environment is hazardous, but are caught off guard and unprepared for the cook's unexpected brutality. Getting stuck in a lifeboat with the cook of all people was a minor detial of sheer probability to start out with, but this minor and miserable detail would help Pi appreciate and strive to attain salvation for himself that much more.

1. On the boat because this is where Pi he begins to question his beleifs and existance, because he had so much time in his hands.
3. because while in the boat he wonders what his purpose in life is and what his purpose is, he talks about his family being gone and Richard Parker eventually killing him. There is really no reason for him to survive.
4. Pi is trying to find himself through all the religions he is a part of, always trying to find out more about them and trying to see how he can be a par of them.
5.i agree with the statement because if you dont find a meaning to life then you have wasted a lot of time, and anything you do in life serves as learning experiences.
Nature: Wade, Julia, Becky, Karen

7. Think about Pi's 227 days at sea, how are these minor events, minor details, how are these leading to his understanding of self?

ex·is·ten·tial·ism (ĕgzĭ-stĕn'shə-lĭzəm, ĕksĭ-)external image audio.gif


A philosophy that emphasizes the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or indifferent universe, regards human existence as unexplainable, and stresses freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of one's acts. (askjeeves.com)

Here's a challenge and a mission--
developing our intuition.
We need more freedom from the known
and must not count on thought alone.
No matter how astute we are
our reason takes us just so far
and cannot help us to discern
the other ways we need to learn.
Instead of logic and precision
we also need a deeper vision,
ways to think in metaphor
and draw upon unconscious lore.
But here I sit, trapped in my mind,
and do not know if I can find
a way to shake the evil curse
that makes me write such stilted verse.

Tom Greening

The is a short clip on exidtentialism that may help you grasp the philoshophy. Every belief and every action today is changing and modeling are future for tomorrow.

Here's a clip about Fight Club thats only minutes long, but it truely shows exidtentialism at its best. It talks about how your life is uses untill you realize that you are going to die so you must make every day extradordanry. The narator of this clip talks about how he's going to live his life to the fullest and find meaning in his life because every minute that passes is that much closer to his death. Throughout the entire clip the voice is telling you to "Give up? Give up?" What are you suppose to give up? It different for each person. You must give up your egotical belief that you are something. Your nothing, you'll always be nothing unless you do something about it. You must make yourself something. God gave you life. He never showed you how to live it. Your only purpose here is to live the life God gave you. Now live it!

And finally this is a clip that was made around the song ~ This is Your Life, By Switchfoot. This clip shows how one little thing such as a fight your girlfriend/boyfriend, or even some close can change your life in a instant. The fight in the car start out small, niether the driver nor the passanger knew that it would lead to her death. It then goes on to show the struggle of one man as he was to deal with the lose of his loved one. He uses alchoal, drugs and even religon to try and get himself over the his lose. Everyday small events, or even longer ones just like this are shaping us and guiding us to make a decion later on in life or maybe even tomorrow which will determine what we do with our lives. We are born into nothing and we'll die out of nothing unless you find your purpose life and make inner peace with yourself. We are all fighting whats inside of us, we are scared what maybe actual be inside our heart, but you'll never know if you dont look, and try to make peace with yourself. God only gave was the answer, "Life" now you have to find the question to answer his answer. What will you question be? I cann't even show you the door. This is a jornurney that you must start, continue and finish on your own. You must find the door, open the door, and then walk through it. Look back at your past, and look at your present, imagen your future...."This is Your Life" its not your friends, its not your parents, its not your siblings.... It's your life... are you who you want to be?

Rob Meyers, Anna F. Danielle A, Justin A and Jeremy A

"Existentialism is not a philosophy but a label for several widely different revolts against traditional philosophy."
Aubrey D., Kelly O. Eric W., Ryan W., Mandy R.
5. When Pi was on the boat he was hearing voices. He began to think that he was going crazy when he realized the voice was Richard Parker. Pi continued a conversation with him. That proves how you uncover hidden things about yourself.
"...stresses the individual's unique position as a self-determining agent responsible for the authenticity of his or her choices." -dictionary.com
external image tiger_boy.jpg

Psychology: We believe that the way Martel shows existentialism it through the "Animals" which are representations of Pi's Feelings and Emotions.
The Tiger: Pi's Bravery and Strength
The Hyena: Pi's Fear Irrationality, and being Unreasonable
The Zebra: Pi's Hope (Damaged, then Destroyed)
The Orangutan: Pi's Desperation and Curiosity
The Goat: Pi's Innocence
The Lion: Pi's Evil/Temptation

Pi's path was to be on the lifeboat alone to realize his true self. It was symbolic of the baptism which he desired when he was living in India and experiementing with Christianity. His mind and soul was spirtually cleansed during the 227 days and was formed into the person that he is on a deeper level because,subconsciously, that is who he wants to be.
-Lera Y. & Jim L.

Rersponse to 4.
PI's outlook on life in regards to religion can be stretched to be existentialist. His religion is all in self motivation, as most religious beliefs or practices are. Pi is religious because it feels good to him. He likes the different aspects of the three religions. The beauty of Hinduism, the dedication of Islam, and the love of Christianity. These things are easy for Pi to practice and they make him feel like his life has a meaning. He walking on existentialist path, Where he gets from his religious experiences what he puts. He would be basically the same kid without religion, yet hew would feel unfulfilled becauser he did not act in beauty dedication or love. The existentialist philosophy is all a matter of perception. If you think you put in a lot of effort in you r life, you look to see the results of that effort. Even if you do nothing but stiull think you did you find meaning in your life. So as long as Pi has been true to himself he has left nothingness, and has found his meaning. T. Gunter

Response to 2
Pi is not delusional, Pi is a liar. There is something fishy going on here. The Frernchman is real, but Pi knew him before the ordeal. The FM has a boot, Pi lost a boot whenhe first gor on the lifeboat. The FM is defeinitely from the cargo ship. Pi is in a delerious state, and I find it amazing that blind near death tiger was able pounce and kill a man. Nothing in this story is as it seems. Could the frenchman be a cook from the way he dscribed him. I think Pi is using this experience to cover up something very deep and disturbing, but I don't know, it could just be a dream. Pi is aware of death he is also aware that the FM could bring freedom from the lifeboat. Pi has a split personality??? Pi is deeply affected by the despair. T. Gunter

Self_Perception.jpg*Denise M.

Hinduism- Marc Zafferani, Kieran Mcguire, Mike Cloud, Nate Kemp, Jake Seccombe

Existentialism is basically self definition. Not what your religion defines you as or what your friends do. It is what you define yourself as. Pi began his adventure as a highly religous boy from India. He was searching for meaning and comfort by finding religions that took up every aspect of his life. Pi became so wrapped up in religion that he had no time for himself. It was only once he was on the boat with all the time in the world and nothing to do with it that he truly began to explore who he was. He tested his limits and explored his own knowledge. He expended his every resource in order to tame Richard Parker. He nearly gave up his own life in the process. He fought through his fears and was able to define his emotions. He described fear as the small shadow of doubt that creeps into your mind and slow, inevitably takes over every function of your body. He began to link his emotions with the animals he was familiar with. In Pi's second story he replaced the loving, human-like Orange Juice with his loving and caring mother that he also lost. His fear was linked with the hyena and eventually the insane mad man that was present in the second story. Then I will have to agree with psychology in that pie's hopes of being rescued where evident in both the zebra and the young sailor that Pi admired so much. This could go on for a long time. Our point is that Pi was finally defining himself and seeing his own emotions in other things and by the end of the book Pi seemed to see himself as another animal and the animals as other humans. On the boat Pi was another animal. He had to be the dominant animal over Richard Parker and had to survive off of what little food he was competiting with Richard Parker for. Thus when his ordeal was finally over Pi understood exactly who he was and where he belonged as another creature on the earth. Thus he was able to interchange the different creatures with one another and fabricate another story.

external image creature.png
Humans and animals are one in Life of Pi

Existentialism is who you are. The whole novel was about Pi and existentialism. Pi was forced to discover who he is during the novel by being forced to survive. It is found that Pi is an amazing man. He was tested in every way imaginable and "passed" every test with flying colors. Richard Parker's role in the novel in my opinion was to continue Pi's test of himself. Pi overcame everything, Richard Parker, weather, ocean, sharks, sea animals, hunger, thirst, exhaustion, loss of loved ones, no knowing how long he we will be out at sea, etc. Pi is truly a hero.
Keegan Bast


"Existentialism is a philosophical movement that is generally considered a study that pursues meaning in existence and seeks value for the existing individual." (Wikipedia.com). It does not treat the individual as a concept, but rather values subjectivity and objectivity. As a result, questions regarding the meaning of life and subjective experience are important.

While Pi is on the lifeboat, he is able to survive over the odds of his obstacles. As a result, Pi begins to question life in general and the meaning of life. These thoughts are existentialistic, because he is trying to understand how he is able to overcome the obstacles that threaten his life and existence!

"I came to the sad conclusion that I could no longer take care of Richard Parker. I had failed as a zookeeper. I was more affected by his imminent demise than I was by my own. But truly, broken down and wasted away as I was, I could do no more for him." (Martel 305).
Pi's very existence was being torn by his obstacle, in this example, Richard Parker. Pi felt connected to Richard Parker; if Richard Parker died, then a part of Pi's life and meaning would die as well.
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Contrast Group: Kylee, Zach, Meaghan, Kim, and Sierra

If existentialism mean that we are born into nothing and leave the world as nothing unless we find out our purpose then that might be the reason Pi had this journey. Maybe him being so lost with three religions unsure of which one to believe, was a reason for this journey to take place. This journey could of been a psychological one rather than a physical survival test. Through a psychological journey Pi was then able to discover who he was and what values he had. Existentialism explains how we are all fighting whats inside us which then relates to freud's belief of humans having an Id, ego, and superego behavior. The Id is what we are all trying to fight against. In Pi's case the Id would be the hyena/cook because he is the most dangerous threat and the one who cares only for himself and his survival. Amanda W and Jenna H