Tag Archives: ending

How to Transition Smoothly Between Chapters

How to Transition Smoothly Between Chapters I get a lot of questions regarding writing advice. While I’m no expert, I certainly have some opinions that I’m more than happy to share. Recently, I was asked:

“Are there any ‘good’ ways to have smooth transitions between chapters so that the story flows in an understandable way for the reader?”

First we need to understand that there are two different types of transitions that can occur when a chapter ends:

A.) transitioning from one scene to a completely different scene

B.) transitioning from one scene to a continuation of the same scene, but just in the next chapter

Biker through tunnel

In scenario (a) if there are large gaps of time between the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next, then I usually say something like, “The last 6 months had been rough for Joe. He kept his head down and worked hard…” This is my “establishing shot” so-to-speak. It provides context for the reader and lets them know that the scene has now jumped. The next paragraph after that, I will have Joe doing something and engaging in a new scene.

My book The Art of the Hustle does this quite a bit since I cover 10 years in the book. In one scene, there was so much of a gap (like 4 years), that it was weird to just transition from one chapter to the next so I made a new part. So the book starts out with Part 1 – Chapter 1,2,3,4…. then about halfway, I introduce Part 2 and mention that it has been 4 years later. man walkingIn some cases, it may be more fluid to not have a chapter break, but instead just have a text break. So an example would look like this:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

***

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

With this technique, you don’t have to be all that smooth since the separator lets the reader know that you’ve transitioned into a different scene. If the gap in time is not that large, say the character is at work in one chapter, and then at home in the next chapter, I may just say “Joe was exhausted. He sat on the couch as he usually did after his shift and watched sports highlights…” hot air balloon at nightScenario (b) — a continuation of the same scene, but just in the next chapter — is much easier. I actually prefer this ‘cliff-hanger’ technique as much as possible to encourage people to continue reading. TV shows often end this way as well. So if a chapter ends like, “Joe turned around and was shocked by who was standing before him.” I’ll end the chapter there so the reader wants to keep reading to find out who was standing behind Joe.

Then, in the next chapter I would begin by saying something like, “Joe couldn’t believe his eyes as he was now staring at a man he long presumed dead…” So basically you just pick up where you left off. In fact, I often write the scene straight through and then later pick some moment which I feel would make a good cliff-hanger and then end my chapter there.

Some writers have an ‘A’ plot and a ‘B’ plot and they stitch it together like a zipper. So in my above example, you would say something like, “Joe turned around and was shocked by who was standing before him.” End chapter. Then the next chapter would be the ‘B’ plot — a completely different scene altogether.

Then once that chapter ends, you pick up where you left off with the ‘A’ plot. I tend not to do this, but it can add more excitement as the reader now has to read an entire chapter just to get back to where they left off in the story.

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Intersteller Explained (Spoiler Alert!)

Interstellar ExplainedIf you’ve watched Christopher Nolan’s movie, Interstellar, then chances are you had some questions about the plot. If you haven’t watched it, the following post will contain major spoilers as I will attempt to explain the movie, including the complicated ending.

The Plot

The basic premise involves Earth facing an environmental catastrophe that is sure to wipe out the human race. In a last-ditch effort to save the species, a secret NASA space project from the 50’s has been searching for a habitable planet for humans to colonize.

Act One

Single dad/ corn farmer Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is made aware of a strange gravitational anomaly occurring in his 10-year-old daughter’s bedroom. The daughter is convinced it is a ghost attempting to communicate with her by strategically knocking books off a shelf, which may represent some kind of code.

Cooper and MurphThe environment has gone to hell and crops are not producing food due to blight. The situation on Earth is getting bleak for its inhabitants as crop failure and dust storms are rampant. In one of the many dust storms that ravage the land, the window is left open in the daughter’s bedroom. After the dust settles, it is collected on the floor in a mysterious pattern. Again, the daughter believes it is a message from the ghost. The dad becomes curious, and discovers that it is not Morse code, rather they are coordinates to a particular location on Earth. Fortunately, it is within driving distance! The dad and daughter make the day-long trek out to see where the road leads.

As it turns out, it is a top-secret NASA base, where a team of scientists have been working on a space station. They had previously sent probes to scour the universe for habitable planets, and upon the discovery of a wormhole, they sent several human-piloted crafts for further investigation. Data was transmitted back, but those initial pioneers did not return.

Several of the data from the early missions showed promising results for potentially habitable planets within reach. With hopes of saving humankind, NASA planned to send another human-piloted craft to further investigate one of these new planets to save the remaining people on Earth. As it turns out, Cooper happens to be a former NASA pilot, and was persuaded to do the noble act of leaving his family behind and journeying through space.

Cooper drivingTwo plans are presented for human salvation:

Plan A: While Cooper’s team is off in space, the lead NASA scientist, Professor Brand (Michael Caine), will remain on Earth and continue to work on a complex equation that will allow humans to harness gravity. Figuring out this equation will enable NASA to launch a massive space station into space, providing a home for many of the Earth’s inhabitants.

Plan B: If Brand does not solve this complex equation, and therefore cannot lift the space station into space, Cooper’s team will have to start a new civilization themselves, leaving everyone on Earth to die. To ensure genetic diversity, they have brought a bank of fertilized human embryos.

Act Two

Professor Brand reveals that an unknown species, which he refers to as “They”, have strategically created a wormhole near Saturn, which acts as a bridge connecting two distant points in the universe. The prior human-piloted missions took advantage of this shortcut and visited planets, which could have the potential for human colonization. The astronauts cannot communicate directly with NASA, but have set up beacons relaying information about their newly discovered planet back to Earth. There are three potential candidates (planets), each with relative merits, and it is up to Cooper and his crew to decide which planet provides the best hope for humanity.

Interstellar water planetEinstein’s theory of relativity played a prominent role in the film. As the theory states, time is not universal, it slows down the faster you go. So, while in large gravitational forces, time will appear normal relative to Cooper and his crew, but for each hour they spend on the planet, 7 years will have passed by on Earth. The first planet they went to was covered in water and would not be suitable. After a harrowing escape, they return to their docking bay after 3 hours. One crew member remained on the docking bay and to him and everyone on Earth, 23 years had passed. Cooper received 23 years of one-way video messages from his kids, who by now are all grown up with families of their own.

Cooper’s once 10-year-old daughter is now in her forties and is a scientist at the secret NASA facility. Professor Brand is now on death’s door and reveals to her that Plan A was never possible – stating that he had solved the equation years ago. He kept the information a secret, leading his team to believe it was still a possibility. He did this as a way to keep hope and spirits high so that his team would continue working together for their own personal salvation.

Cooper’s daughter sends a video message to the crew, informing them that Plan A was hopeless. Cooper and Professor Brand’s daughter, Amelia Brand (Anne Hathaway) commit to Plan B, but can only go to one of two remaining planets, but not both. Amelia suggests one particular planet, but Cooper has reason to believe her rationale has been corrupted because her lover had been sent to that planet. Despite this, the lover’s planet was reporting positive information from his beacon. Cooper decides against Amelia for reasons stated, and chooses the other planet, which has been relaying positive data as well.

Matt DamonUpon landing on this planet, they discover Matt Damon. At first he was saying how wonderful the planet is, but for some reason (sorry, I didn’t understand his rationale) tries to kill Cooper. It turned out that Matt Damon lied about his data so he would get rescued, which I get, but I’m not sure how killing Cooper had anything to do with his selfish plans. Why could he not have just explained why he lied (douchey, but understandable) and they could all leave together?

Anyway, Cooper survives the attack, but Matt Damon flees on one of their ships. Oh, and the only black character dies in a horrific explosion, which was orchestrated by Matt Damon. Meanwhile, Matt Damon says toodaloo and uses his ship to try to dock with the space station that Cooper’s team rolled in on. Due to a malfunction, he died in a horrific explosion.

Ensconced in my ‘suspension-of-disbelief hat’, I watched on as Cooper and his team docked a spinning space station, by matching the spin on the…. yeah, anyway, moving on. Cooper remained unconvinced that Plan A is impossible and conjured up another impossible feat of using a nearby black hole called Gargantua to slingshot their craft toward Edmonds’ planet (the final planet). Cooper sends TARS (the crew’s sarcastic helper robot) into the centre of the black hole with the hopes of learning more about it, which may allow NASA to use the data to revive Plan A.

AmeliaTo reduce the weight on their craft, Cooper detaches, sacrificing himself for Amelia so that she can make it to Edmonds’ planet and enact Plan B, should Plan A fail. However, instead of dying alone in space, Cooper is pulled inside the black hole, where he wakes up falling through the Tesseract — a wormhole created by the aforementioned “They”.

“They” Explained

NASA scientists assume “They” are an advanced extraterrestrial race trying to communicate with humans using binary messages (in the form of the gravitational anomaly of the dust, and by knocking over bookshelves in Cooper’s daughter’s bedroom, among other things to other humans), and are also responsible for creating the wormhole. The NASA team believe these beings have transcended three-dimensional space and are operating in fourth and fifth dimensions.

Act Three

With Cooper in this weird fourth and fifth dimension, he finds himself back in his 10-year-old daughter’s bedroom, behind the bookshelf. In an attempt to communicate with her, he begins banging on the bookshelf to get her attention. In do so, he causes the books to fall off. He then realizes that he is in fact the ‘ghost’ from the beginning of the movie. Upon this realization, he starts to understand the macro-level picture. The once-thought alien race (“They”) is actually future humans.

Interstellar bookshelfDue to Cooper’s message to his daughter through the dust, the books, and eventually the second hand of a wrist watch, Cooper’s daughter solves the Plan A equation, lifts the space station into space (all of this isn’t show, but implied), and saves the human race. As for Amelia, she made it to the Edmonds’ planet, which seems to have a small colony of humans. Edmonds died at some point, which wasn’t explained.

After delivering the message through the watch (through Morse code), the Tesseract folds up and Cooper is left drifting in space. He is discovered by the future human race and brought aboard the space station (not shown, but implied), where his daughter is now in her 90’s and on death’s door. Since Cooper’s daughter saved everyone, she is heralded as a saviour and is highly praised. Cooper reunites with his long-lost daughter and shares a touching moment. Cooper’s daughter told him to go save Amelia and the others on Edmonds’ planet.

Some final thoughts:

Question: How does the Tesseract exist before Cooper sends the message?

Answer: According to Neil deGrasse Tyson (I had to look it up), he explains how we live in four dimensions. He says, if we want to meet a friend, we usually need four sets of numbers. The X and a Y axis may represent a particular street and its cross-street, and the Z axis may represent the floor of a building. But as he points out, we also need a fourth dimension — time. It would make no sense to say, “Meet me for coffee at the corner of Union and Lexington, on the second floor.” The friend would say, “What time shall I be there?” or if you say, “Meet me for coffee at 2:00 pm.” The friend would ask, “Where shall I meet you?”

In our four dimensional existence, time is a liner path where events happen sequentially — birth, graduation, marriage… death. So to ask, “when did I graduate?”, there is a precise time. However, in the fifth dimension, time is not liner. It would therefore be non-nonsensical to ask, “when did I graduate?” or “what year was I born?” because you would have access to all those events any time you wanted. You would always be born, you would always be graduating, you would always be getting married… Each event is always happening as if they were laid out like objects on a table, and you could essentially jump in and out of any moment.

Neil deGrasse Tyson fourth dimension

Question: Why does Cooper spell out the message “Stay” if he knows leaving ultimately becomes the catalyst that will save the world?

Answer: He made this message before he came to this realization.

See Also:

Transcendence Explained

Cloud Atlas Explained

Oblivion Explained

Life of Pi Explained

Looper Explained

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Transcendence Explained (Spoiler Alert!)

Transcendence explained

Chances are if you’ve arrived at this post, you’ve seen the movie Transcendence with Johnny Depp and the girl from The Town, and had some questions. Before we get into the explanation of the movie, in particularly the ending, I just want to say this will contain spoilers if you haven’t seen the movie.

So what is Transcendence about? What I took from the movie was that it wanted to make you question our interaction and relationship with technology on a fundamental level. What does that mean?

When I was watching the movie, I wasn’t really sure who to root for. The husband and wife duo, Dr. Will and Evelyn Caster (Johnny Depp and Rebecca Hall) were clearly introduced as the movie’s protagonists. Will Caster is brilliant, has adoring fans, and seems to have a benevolent agenda. Then he gets shot and we pull for him and his wife even more.

transcendence-movie-Paul-Bettany-and-Rebecca-Hall-with-Johnny-Depp

Evelyn Caster uploads her dying husband’s consciousness into a computer and the concepts of sentience and personhood are forever blurred. One of the first things Will does once his conscience has been melded with the computer hardware is demand more power, which seems reasonable enough. Their cohort Max Waters has reservations about the demand and whether Will is really the mind in the machine. Max and Evelyn get into a heated argument over the issue and Max is thrown out. It was at this point where I began to form an opinion of what I would do in this instance. As Evelyn’s motives seemed to be clouded by her emotions, I tended to side with Max.

In a harrowing race against the clock, Evelyn concedes to Will’s request and connects him to a satellite, much like letting a bird out of a cage. Will’s consciousness immediately travelled across the vast network of computers and electronic devices, and he suddenly had access to information and systems like never before.

transcendence-movie

There is a reason why philosophers study and debate ethics — it is inherently complex. Is it right to take a man’s life if you know it would save ten lives? Is it wrong to steal if you need to feed your children? When, if ever, is it morally permissible to lie? The point I’m trying to make is that the hero and the villain are not always easy to cast. In this case, Will manipulates the financial market to fund a company that is owned by his wife Evelyn. This enables her to buy and build (under his request) a facility that will do two things:

  1. Give him more power
  2. Provide a place where advanced research can be conducted

Two years after the facility is built, a worker is assaulted, leaving him in rough shape. He has open wounds and what we are led to believe a broken leg. With the facility funnelling unlimited power to Will, he has become adept at controlling computers and nano-technology. Using the facility’s high-tech equipment, he heals the man instantly. As a by-product of being infused with nanobots, the worker has super strength. However, since the man is now an amalgamation of technology and organic material, Will can control him. Here, the line of what is morally permissible seems to have been crossed, especially when Will controls the man’s conscience and uses him to talk and attempt to touch Evelyn.

TRANSCENDENCE

Will puts out a seemingly benevolent invitation to anyone who suffers from any sort of physical limitation such as muscular dystrophy (I’m guessing), blindness, paralysis, etc. and offers to heal them. On the one hand, this seems to be pious, but on the other hand, Will’s agenda is not fully transparent. With each person he helps, he is ultimately adding another soldier to his army. He maintains these people are coming and working at the facility on their own volition, and are free to leave whenever they want.

As the movie progresses, we see Will as this omniscient, sentient machine becoming ever more creepy, and the radical anti-technology organization becoming increasingly more justified in preventing Will from gaining too much power. Will has put nanobots everywhere — in the air, the water, the ground, and into many individuals. His goal seems to be to create one global super-conscience that can stave off disease, purify the air and water, rebuild nearly any material… But, the cost of such world-wide inclusivity (for lack of a better word) is that humans would have to give up being human.

Will is eventually able to use nano-technology to regenerate himself, but moments later, he and his facility are attacked. The so-called “radical” anti-Will organization have devised a plan to infect Will with a virus. They realize, however, the only way to stop Will and his omnipresent nanobots is to have a total world-wide blackout whereby the use of computerized technology is wiped out.

transcendence-movie-photo-9-550x366

The virus succeeds and at the end we see a world where people are desolate. Computerized technology litters the streets and is used as door stoppers. And as the credits roll, we can’t help but wonder if perhaps the world would have been better off in the hands of a super computer.

The end of the movie may not be satisfying for some since it leaves it open for the audience to draw their own conclusions. Was Will really in the machine, or was it just some malevolent artificial-intelligence hell-bent on world domination? One could see how a world where everything is a part of a machine could turn into a Matrix, or Terminator-type scenario. Conversely, if Will’s vision of world domination was to create utopia, then we are faced with the challenge of evaluating what is truly important. Is the price we pay for utopia too high?

Transcendence-Will-Caster

At its core, Transcendence is a philosophical movie that forces us to think. We may be presented with this type of technological singularity (as articulated by futurist Ray Kurzweil) at some point in the future, so this may be less science-fiction and more of an introduction to a global discussion.

My final thoughts on the moral dilemma — I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer. Some people value being human more than having pure air and water, while others would rather be a part of a hive-minded AI that provides us with solutions to many of the world’s problems. At this time, I would be willing to consider giving up my humanity and embrace technology. We’re not going to live forever, so my humanity is only temporary. As long as the technology has a benevolent agenda, I’m okay with the singularity. Embrace change.

See Also:

Interstellar Explained

Cloud Atlas Explained

Oblivion Explained

Life of Pi Explained

Looper Explained

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Oblivion Explained (Spoiler Alert)

oblivion explained

My Cloud Atlas Explained post and my Life of Pi Explained post are both number one on Google (respectively), so I’m going to try my best to explain the movie Oblivion.

I think the best starting place for this movie is a scene that took place near the end.

Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) and a crew of six others embark on a mission to explore some massive craft in space that orbits earth. As Jack and his crew get closer, the gravity of the massive craft is so strong that it pulls them in and they cannot escape from it. Realizing this, Jack makes a last-ditch effort to disengage a portion of the ship that contains five of the seven crew members. Jack succeeds and the portion containing the five crew members floats freely into space while Jack and his commanding partner board the massive craft. The five crew members are completely unaware of all this because for some reason they are in a sort of hibernation state.

So the portion of the ship containing Jack and his commanding partner drifts into the giant object in space (known as the Tet). Once in the Tet, it is presumed that Jack and his commanding partner are killed and cloned – perhaps not in that order. The details of this and the following series of events are not exactly clear forcing us to infer these parts of the story.

The Tet unleashes havoc on earth by destroying the moon. This disrupts the tidal and tectonic balance causing massive earthquakes and tsunamis. The process decimates nearly everyone and everything. The reason the Tet did this was because it needs energy from planets like earth similar to Unicron from Transformers or Galactus from Silver Surfer. But instead of eating the planet, it sent thousands of Jack Harper clones to earth to set up giant machines that extract energy from the oceans. It also deployed drones to protect Jack Harper and these machines. The drones are also tasked with scouring the surface of earth for any remaining humans that may thwart the Tet’s plan, and are programmed to kill them on site.

rs_560x415-130419161829-1024.2oblivion.ls.41913

Act 1

The movie starts with Jack Harper (Technician 49) and his female partner – who we eventually discover are clones of the original Jack Harper and commanding officer from 60 years ago. They have no idea they are clones because their ‘memories’ have been wiped clean. They are assigned the thankless mission of staying on earth and repairing any drones if and when necessary. They live in an über-modern house in the sky and are romantically involved.

Jack’s partner acts as his ‘eyes in the sky’ keeping him safe while he is on the surface performing his daily duties. The partner communicates with the Tet, who appears under the guise of a benevolent woman on a video screen. The Tet gives them instructions and protocols to follow, approves or denies requests, and reinforces the promise of one day returning to the Tet. They are told that once they complete their mission, they will be reunited with the other remaining humans from earth who are on board the Tet, and together they will travel to one of the moons of Saturn to establish a new colony.

Each day, Jack goes down to search and repair drones and is told to stay out of certain radiation zones. Jack tries on multiple attempts to persuade his partner to join him on the earth’s surface, but every time she vehemently declines because it is against protocol.

While repairing the drones, Jack gathers items that are left over from the past, such as books, baseballs, and records. Jack must also be on the lookout for ‘Scavs’ – scavengers who he is led to believe are the remaining aliens that destroyed earth. These Scavs watch Jack and notice that he is different than the other clones because he shows an unprecedented curiosity with these lost and forgotten objects from times past.

hero_oblivion_la_critique_galerie_photos_portefolio_26

Act 2

One day, the Scavs jury-rig some sort of device to a tower and attract the original Jack’s aforementioned disengaged crew, who have been drifting through space in a sleep-like state for the past 60 years. Once the crew ship lands, everyone is killed by drones except one – the original Jack’s wife Julia, who was one of the crew members. Jack rescues Julia, but has no idea who she is. He experiences flashbacks of her – remnants of his original self’s memories. These vague recollections grow stronger after Jack spends the day with Julia. She informs Jack that she is in fact his wife.

Julia convinces Jack to go back to the crash site to retrieve the flight log from her ship so she’ll have a better understanding of what happened. During this operation, the Scavs capture Jack and Julia. They reveal themselves as humans (not aliens) and tell him the truth. The truth is that the Tet is not a ship filled with humans, but rather some artificial intelligence hell-bent on destroying the world for its own sake. Apparently, it needs the energy from planets like earth to keep it alive. Information like who built the Tet, where it comes from, and how it uses the earth as an energy source are never explained.

Together, Jack and Julia enter the forbidden radiation zone. Jack discovers another clone of himself (Technician 52), which confuses the hell out of them both. They fight, and Tech 49 Jack chokes Tech 52 unconscious with a sweet triangle choke. Jack 49 takes Jack 52’s ship, goes back to 52’s house, and discovers another commanding officer, who is a spitting image of his commanding partner. I skipped the part where Jack 49’s commanding partner gets killed and also that she told the Tet that Jack found a woman who had crash landed to earth. So Jack 49 asks Jack 52’s partner if she wants to visit the surface with him and she vehemently tells him no – implying that 52 is much like 49 in that they share the same curious nature that was observed by the Scavs.

Oblivion

Act 3

Meanwhile, back at the Scav hideout, three drones attack the Scavs. A big fight ensues and the drones eventually get defeated, but not without killing several Scavs. Jack 49 partners with the Scavs and together they devise a plan to destroy the Tet. The plan is to board the Tet and detonate a bomb akin to Luke Skywalker blowing up the Death Star. But before Jack 49 boards the Tet, he leaves Julia behind at a little house he had built by a lake. The house is filled with all the old relics that he had gathered (books, baseball, records…).

So apparently Julia was pregnant with Jack 49’s baby and lived at the house for the next three or four years. We are led to believe she had the baby by herself (now 3 or 4-years old) and fended for the two until one day, Jack 52 and the Scavs find her. It is a big happy moment because Jack 52 has been searching for her for the past three or four years. Since he shares most (if not all) of Jack 49’s memories, he is a sufficient substitute for Jack 49 (who died in the explosion on the Tet) and the original Jack (who also died on the Tet).

My overall opinion of the movie is that it was really good. It started off slow, but that made it suspenseful. While the action and dialogue was limited, it was visually stunning and made for a great sci-fi adventure tale.

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Life of Pi Explained (Spoiler Alert!)

Life-of-Pi-Richard-Parker

In the past, I have only written three posts on movies. With the first one, I found myself in a debate with the Writer/ Director of the film via twitter. You can read that post here: What They Didn’t Tell You in Looper. The second time, my post went viral. If you type in “Cloud Atlas Explained” in Google, my blog is the first one that populates.

Yesterday, I watched the movie, Life of Pi, based on Yann Martel’s novel by the same title. The movie closely follows the book—a young Indian boy and his family travel across the Pacific on a giant shipping vessel, when unexpectedly the ship sinks in a horrific storm, killing nearly everyone onboard. The only survivors are Pi, a tiger, a hyena, a zebra, and an orangutan.

Much like the book, the ending is left open for interpretation.

Pi eventually drifts to the shores of Mexico where he is taken to a Mexican hospital. During his recovery, two Japanese officials interview Pi so they can complete their report on the sinking vessel.

Pi tells his story—he is stranded on a small lifeboat with the aforementioned animals and remains adrift for 227 days. On the first day, the hyena kills the already wounded zebra and the sweet orangutan. Then the tiger, named Richard Parker, kills the hyena.

And then there were two…

Life-of-Pi-Whale

Pi proceeds to tell the Japanese men this improbable story of him and the tiger, and how they stumbled upon a mysterious island. The Japanese men are reluctant to write the story they have been told because it is too unbelievable.

Pi then says, ‘Fine, let me tell you a different version of what happened.’

He tells them a different version of the story: one that uses humans instead of animals. Instead of the hyena killing the zebra and sweet orangutan, it was the cook. Then instead of the tiger killing the hyena, it is Pi who kills the cook out of revenge or self-preservation. The orangutan represents his mother, the zebra represents some wounded Japanese sailor, the tiger is Pi, and all the other fantastical elements of the story were stripped away leaving a much more disturbing, but believable depiction.

After describing both stories to the men, he asks them which version of the story they prefer.

In the movie, when the now grown-up Pi describes the human story, there is a great deal of anguish on his face. This may lead people to believe that the human story is the real story; however, this look is not present in the book. In the novel, it almost seems like Pi is annoyed with the two men and tells them a much more “believable” story in order for them to complete their report.

This leads me to believe that the animal story is the real story. After all, what reason does Pi have to make that up, especially when he is willing to tell both versions?

So although the human story makes a lot of sense, it was not intended to be a twist ending. The author leaves the question unanswered for the audience to draw their own conclusion, almost as if we are the Japanese men. Whatever story you prefer, is intended to gauge your belief in God. Either you believe in things that can be explained rationally, or you allow room for such things as miracles and God.

At the onset, Pi claims that his story will make a person believe in God. By the end, he has turned the skeptic into a believer. This is represented by the skeptical Japanese officials who state in their closing report that Pi survived 227 days at sea with a tiger.

In the book, we don’t get to the boat until page 130. In the pages leading up to that, it describes Pi’s upbringing, his family life, and his discovery of different Gods. At first, I thought this was a way to pad the story. As a writer, I can imagine how difficult it would be to write a full-length novel about a boy on a boat with a tiger for 227 days.

But upon seeing the movie, I gained a different perspective of that proceeding narrative. Pi approaches God from many different religions in order to show the importance of having an open mind and being tolerant of other people’s beliefs. Like his story, some may prefer to live an empirical life, or some may prefer a more theoretical life.

One final point: Why didn’t Richard Parker look back? This was done to showcase the lesson Pi’s father taught him—‘Richard Parker is not your friend, he is a wild animal.’

Life-of-Pi-Suraj-Sharma

See Also:

Interstellar Explained

Cloud Atlas Explained

Oblivion Explained

Transcendence Explained

Looper Explained

Edward Mullen

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