Physical journeys involve different types of obstacles. They provide opportunities for travellers to extend themselves physically, intellectually and emotionally as they respond to challenges and learn more about themselves and the world around them. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and Life of Pi, are both examples of how physical journeys impact said persons perspective and approach on life.
Physical journeys make people change and it guides them further into the future, much of life of pi is all about action and the impossible adventure of struggling to survive at sea stranded. His journey not only involves surviving with a tiger, but also starvation and the other physical challenges that he overcomes, pi is soon forced to challenge his beliefs when he is forced to kill fish, as he identifies as a vegan. And soon partakes in actions that he believes are against him, the will to survive also physically challenges pi and makes him a stronger character as he’s had to grow as a person and overcome his beliefs in order to survive . From the start we know that Pi overcomes this journey and survives to tell us the story, but keeps tension throughout the whole ordeal. Samuel Coleridge in his poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner too has examples of Physical journeys and the characters developing their identities, The mariner is bombarded with constant challenges and dangers that he has to overcome, one being killing the albatross.
In contrast to Lee’s film, Life of pi, pi too faces many challenges, however Pi deals with these challenges differently to the Ancient Mariner in ‘RIME’. Pi is on a lifeboat with a tiger after the terrible shipwreck resulting in his whole families death, the use of dark lighting and non digetic sound of thunder, to set the terror of the storm. When Pi is stranded at sea, he is tested by his extreme struggles, but he also experiences the sublime in the grandiosity of his surroundings, pi has time to think about what to do and how to come out of this struggle,. All external obstacles are stripped away leaving an endless circle of sea and sky. He tells his interviewers two versions of his survival, then asks which one the prefer, Obviously the officials disbelieve the animal story.
Pi’s time on the algae island is one of the strangest, most surreal sections of the movie. Pi comes across an island made entirely of algae, and is inhabited by thousands of meerkats. At first he believes this island is a pure hallucination, but when he can feel the algae on his fingertips, he cant help but believe the island is there and real, By day this island is a paradise, but at night the algae turns acidic and deadly, devouring everything that dares swim nearby. He then comes to the awful realization that the island is carnivorous and that is has eaten a human being before him when he found a flower with a human tooth inside. Similarly In RIME the mariner undergoes an experience which changes him forever, The albatross is introduced in the poem, historically albatross were seen by sailors as omens of good luck, and initially the albatross symbolizes this to the sailors when it appears, With the mariner’s killing of the bird the symbol becomes more complicated. As all the symbols build up around the albatross, it also starts to be possible to see the albatross as a symbol of resistance, a symbol of nature in the sense of its complexity, its resistance to being easily analyzed or pinned down. The poem insists that nature is something to be revered just as God is revered. Nature is beyond both the mastery and comprehension of mankind.
Similarly, inner journeys are evident in Lee’s film, ‘Life of Pi’ as Pi too faces a spiritual journey through a physical experience. , the camera shot of the ship sinking symbolises a new beginning for PI, and the sadness of the situation is set by the music and dark lighting. This can be seen as the waves are roaring and moving Pi’s lifeboat crazily along the water. The camera shots used in this scene are used to convey the dramatic effect. The ship sinking can be compared to god withdrawing, leaving pi alone to become an independent person, with a strong faith. Pi is exiled from having his loved ones and experiences with his religion as god allows him to undergo such suffering and pain. But this scene implies that such experiences are necessary to grow in faith and independence. This can also be seen in RIME, The poem presents nature as more powerful, inspiring and terrifying than man can comprehend, And further, the poem depicts any attempt to master nature as pointless, Nature is simply too powerful, as is evident when the sudden lack of wind strands the ship in desolate waters, the Mariner and sailors begin to die of thirst, the poem demonstrates that contending with, merely surviving, or attempting to master nature are the wrong ways for humankind to approach the natural world
Thus, physical journeys can be conveyed in different ways and can impact a said persons life in different ways, changing their perspective on things one way or another.