- Author(s): Michael Thorn
- When: 2015-03
- Where: Journal of Religion and Popular Culture
This article argues that Yann Martel’s and Ang Lee’s Life of Pi is a multicultural story of maternal cannibalism that resists discourses of cannibalism that assume only the excess of the Other can eat human flesh. Whereas on one level the main character’s cannibalism is sublimated into a tale about a boy and four animals on a lifeboat, on a deeper level it is about a Hindu mother’s Christian sacrifice that answers her son’s Islamic prayers. Although psychoanalytic theory is used to unlock the maternal cannibalism underlying Pi’s tale, the discourse of oedipal and pre-oedipal desire is rejected as discounting the specificity of Pi’s adult trauma.