The Hero's Journey '

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Compositional techniques have been used within the prescribed text to express memorable ideas. Martel has explored various themes in his novel ‘Life of Pi’ (published in 2001), such as reality versus fiction, and the power of storytelling. The story tells of a 16-year-old boy, Pi Patel, who is recounting his 227 days stranded on a lifeboat with an adult Bengal tiger to a fictitious author “writing” the story.

The author’s use of allegory throughout the novel is highly developed and effective. An allegory is a representation of a complex idea through more concrete forms. Martel’s novel is a perfect example of this; the use of one story to represent another in a more believable way. However, in the novel, the reader is not told which story is
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The primary character within “The Hero’s Journey” is the Hero. This character is usually the protagonist of the story, and the audience identifies with them the most. There are three major elements that a Hero must possess or gain throughout the novel. Firstly, they must have some form of strength, a quality or trait that becomes useful during the novel. Secondly, they must also have an equally strong flaw. Often the Hero’s weakness is the opposite of his strength, strength of mind could equal physical weakness, and loyalty could mean sacrificing the world to save someone. Finally, the Hero must better themselves in some way throughout their journey. In the novel, Pi is the protagonist of the story; he narrates his story to the fictional author who “wrote” the book. Pi also possesses many strengths (intelligence, will to survive), and weaknesses (lack of strength, lack of supplies). Similarly, Richard Parker has strengths (physical strength, animal instincts) and weaknesses (not adapted to his environment, not as intelligent as Pi). But only together do they learn to trust themselves and each other, progressing as a duo. Although it doesn’t seem to follow “The Hero’s Journey”, where there should only be one hero, the juxtaposition of the two characters that both fill the same role demonstrates the importance of storytelling. By creating multiple characters to fill the same role, Martel has provided the reader with a more personal interpretation of the book. A reader may see Pi as the only hero, addressing important morals such as loss, isolation, strength of character. However, if the reader realises that Pi and Richard Parker fulfil the role of the hero as a pair, they gain a much greater understanding of the messages found within the novel, highlighting the power of
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