Life of Pi is a 2012 American adventure drama film directed by Ang Lee, which is based on Yann Martel's 2001 novel of the same name.The protagonist, Piscine Molitor "Pi" Patel, tells a novelist about his life story and how at 16 he survives 227 days after a shipwreck while stranded on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker in the Pacific Ocean.
With the analysis of the metaphor connotations in Life of Pi, the thesis aims at understanding the meanings of the images in the film, revealing the theme about human nature, exploring the id in human’s depth of heart and reflecting on human nature. The thesis will generally be divided into five parts. The first part is the introduction to the background information of Life of Pi, the current research status and the research objective. The following part will analyze concretely the metaphor connotations, such as Pi’s name, the fish and the carnivorous island, water and the tiger. In light of the metaphor connotations and the movie theme, the third part is about the two sides in human nature, the divine rationality and the brutal instinct. The tiger is the most significant metaphor throughout Life of Pi, which represents the id in Pi’s mind. In the fourth part, through telling Life of Pi in real life, human nature will be reflected. The last part is the conclusion about the theme. There is a tiger in everyone’s heart. Only when we can control the brutality will we acquire the real rationality.
Key Words: metaphor; human nature; id
1 Introduction 1
2 The Metaphors in Life of Pi 3
2.1 The Metaphor of Pi’s Name 3
2.2 The Metaphors of the Fish and the Carnivorous Island 3
2.3 The Metaphor of Water 4
2.4 The Metaphor of the Tiger 6
3 The Two Sides in Pi’s Human Nature 7
3.1 The Divine Rationality 7
3.2 The Brutal Instinct 8
4 The Reflection on Human Id 10
4.1 Life of Pi in Real Life 10
4.2 The Balance of Rationality and Brutality 10
5 Conclusion 12
The Exploration of the Id in Human Nature:
The Study of Metaphors in Life of Pi
Life of Pi, written by Yann Martel, is a Canadian fantasy adventure novel published in 2001. The novel has sold more than ten million copies worldwide. In 2012 it was adapted into a survival drama film directed by Ang Lee. It was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score. At the 85th Academy Awards, Life of Pi had eleven nominations, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, and won four awards including Best Director for Ang Lee. The storyline revolves around an Indian man named "Pi", telling a novelist about his life story and how he survives a shipwreck, and is stranded in the Pacific Ocean on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger for 227 days.
Life of Pi received highly positive reviews worldwide. However, there are few academic researches concentrated on the metaphors in Life of Pi abroad. Most of the praises directed towards the visual effects: Ang Lee’s Life of Pi achieves the near impossible—a 3D adaptation of a supposedly “unfilmable” book. It’s an astonishing technical achievement which is also emotionally rewarding. Instead of metaphors, only some comments about the 3D technology can be found. From which it can be inferred that foreign researchers have not paid much attention to the metaphors in Life of Pi.
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