Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Life of Pi Prompts II

In class on Tuesday we had a nice discussion about the world Martel creates and the way that this world helps to shape Pi's character. We talked about narrative framework and how details, images, and incidents are shaped by that framework (a caged animal is more than a caged animal, etc.). We talked about intriguants and point of view and Martel's narrative techniques (the italicized sections, for example). We talked about how Martel "trains" us as readers, teaching us how to read the novel even without us knowing he is doing so. And much of our time was spent talking about the way that descriptions of zoology and spirituality inform each other. So...

Now that you have gotten to what might be called the "inciting incident" of the plot, or that initial event that kicks the rising action into gear (in this case a shipwreck that leaves Pi stranded on a lifeboat with Richard Parker), I want you to pay attention to all of the things that Martel was preparing you for even without your knowing it. How was he teaching you to read this story? Or, asked in another way, how do you read the story differently than you would if the book started with the shipwreck? How does the earlier material inform what is now happening? Point to specific things in the book that are more meaningful because of what you have already read. What is this experience teaching you about fiction?

Thanks. Happy reading.

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