Journal directory listing - Volume 60 (2015) - Journal of NTNU: Linguistics & Literature【60(1)】March

The Heroic Pattern in Life of Pi
Author: Hui-Fen Hsu (Applied English Department, National Taichung University of Science and Technology)

Vol.&No.:Vol. 60, No. 1
Date:March 2015


    This paper examines the universal structure of a mythological hero’s adventure in Life of Pi. The theory is based on Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, which illustrated and distilled heroic patterns from various cultures. The hero’s journey has three stages: separation, initiation, and return. Answering a call to adventure, the hero departs from his familiar world and ventures into a region of supernatural wonder. Miraculous forces are encountered there and a decisive victory is won. He then returns from this mysterious land, bringing an elixir to benefit his fellow men. Through this journey of trials, the hero transforms his former self and achieves spiritual growth. Such heroes range from monster slayers to spiritual leaders such as the Buddha and Christ.
    Life of Pi is a fantasy adventure novel about an Indian boy who survives a shipwreck by drifting on a lifeboat with a tiger. His adventure fits Joseph Campbell’s hero archetype. Similar to the mythological hero, Pi departs from his familiar land of India, answering the call for adventure to a new country. Protected by the supernatural powers of Hinduism, Catholicism, and Islam, he penetrates the dangerous and mysterious realm of the Pacific Ocean. After experiencing harsh ordeals, he returns to the human world with a life-enhancing boon to share.
     In this study, Campbell’s insights on the heroic pattern are appropriated as an analytical tool to deepen the meaning of the novel and reveal the common mode of the heroic quest. As enlightening today as in the last century, Campbell’s book continues to inspire artistic creations instead of becoming fossilized. The contents of this paper are divided into three parts corresponding to the hero’s three stages of adventure. This study proved that Pi’s journey is profound in that it reflects universal human suffering and enlightenment. Examined from the perspective of the hero archetype, Life of Pi is a perfect testimony to faith and divinity instead of an ordinary survival story.

Keywords:adventure, faith, hero, pattern, religion

《Full Text》 檔名

APA Format
Hsu, H.-F. (2015). The Heroic Pattern in Life of Pi Journal of National Taiwan Normal University: Linguistics & Literature, 60(1), 95-116.