Dissertation > Literature > World Literature > Work reviews and research > Novel

Harmony between Man and Nature

Author ZhouZuo
Tutor ZouZuo
School Zhejiang Technology and Business University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Life of Pi Yann Martel ecocriticism harmony between man and nature
CLC I106.4
Type Master's thesis
Year 2014
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In2012, Ang Lee’s film Life of Pi caught worldwide attention and brought Ang Lee his second Oscar Award for Best Director. The film is adapted from the Canadian writer Yann Martel’s novel Life of Pi, which was published in2001and won the Man Booker Prize in2002. The novel tells a story about how an Indian boy shares a lifeboat with an adult Bengali tiger in the Pacific Ocean for227days and finally saves his own life as well as that of the tiger.This thesis attempts to interpret Life of Pi from the perspective of ecocriticism. Ecocriticism studies the relationship between literature and changing physical environment, focusing on the condition and fate of humanity. Based on Arne Naess’s deep ecology theory, especially the concepts of "Self-realization" and "Bio-centric Equality", this thesis discusses the subtle relationship between man and nature, man and others, man and self as represented in the novel.The thesis first explores the relationship between man and nature, focusing on Pi’s love for all forms of lives, the symbiotic relationship between Pi and the tiger, and man’s alienation from nature. The whole driftage of Pi with Richard Parker is the process of identification with nature and self-realization from "the self" to "ecological self". Pi’s unique experience symbolizes the significance of human’s re-entry to animal world. Then the thesis examines the relationship between man and others. Pi’s reverence for humans and conflicts among humans in the second story are contrasted, which shows that human culture is connected to physical world. The two affect each other. Finally, the thesis investigates the relationship between man and self. It points out that Pi’s belief and ecological holistic view towards nature are very important factors to help him get through troubles, and man’s alienation from himself restricts the development of the harmonious relationship between man and nature and man and others.This thesis concludes that the relationship between Pi and the tiger is an epitome of the relationship between man and nature and that an eco-friendly attitude towards nature and fulfillment of our spiritual world are keys to the harmony between man and nature.

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