This essay compares the use of fiction versus non-fiction, and the concept of Story, in Life of Pi by Yann Martel and The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson. It also dicussed the relationship of the texts the the author's background, and how their intentions to connect to the audience can produce "the better story".
The Concept of Story in Life of Pi and Thunderbolt Kid 3
The Concept of Story in Life of Pi and The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid
In CS Lewis's essay On Stories, Lewis argues that not enough attention is given to the actual concept of Story; many will analyze the details and dig up symbolism, and while these may be useful in finding intentions, appreciation of the Story is overlooked. In Life of Pi, one of Yann Martel's main concepts focuses on Story, and whether or not the truth can be tweaked in order to form "the better story". Bill Bryson's The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid puts this thought into action, and though this piece is non-fiction, he exaggerates and forms a better story. Both pieces, through the weaving of fiction and non-fiction, create a Story with fantastical elements such as a man-eating island, a friendly Royal Bengal tiger, and a child with super-human thunder vision.
Martel's initial idea for Life of Pi came to him while reading a review of Max and the Cat by Moacyr Scliar; the novel was about a Jew who is in a shipwreck and winds up in a lifeboat with a black panther. Martel claimed that "it had the effect on my imagination of electric caffeine" (Martel, 2005), however, as the story had already been written, he could do nothing but move on.
Several years later, while residing in India, the idea came back to him again, this time, his mind "exploding with ideas" (Martel, 2005). India had lent him inspiration, which he then incorporated into Life of Pi.
Besides the concept of "a better story", Life of Pi focuses on zoology and religion. Of no coincidence, Pi...