Change is an essential aspect of human beings and has been used since the evolution of the species. Change is often associated with new scenarios in which people might find themselves, prompting them to make decisions to overcome that challenge. Solving the challenges ultimately gives the person experience, making them grow and equipped with knowledge in case they face a similar challenge (Pettersson). Change disrupts the status quo of a society, and behind the change is a person or group that the community learns from, either positively or negatively. This paper will look into Piscine Patel from the novel Life of Pi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr to analyze the different aspects of their lives and actions that changed their worlds.
Piscine Patel had subscribed to the three main religions, namely Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism. Unlike any human behavior to follow more than one religion, Patel remains a committed follower of the three religions. This is quoted in chapter 15 of the Life of Pi, which describes his house as a temple hosting a wooden Christ on the Cross in the dining room, in the entrance of the house is framed picture of Ganesha, and in the living room is the holiest sanctum of Islam, black-robed Kaaba (Martel). His commitment and unwavering faith in the religions are remarkable and act as pillars to hold him together in the face of challenges at sea. It becomes a testimony to his rescuers and interrogator, Mr. Okamoto, that faith is important for survival. This is highlighted in Chapter 99 when Patel is asked to recount his ship’s fate (Martel).
Patel’s desire for a fresh start in Canada brought pain, change of habits, and resilience. The desire to move to Canada with his family and zoo was caused by the political issues that were in Pondicherry(Martel). The positive image of his future is shattered by the devasting storm that claims the lives of his family members, leaving him and the other four animals as the sole survivors. It is illustrated in chapter 41 of the Life of Pi, where Patel looked for other lifeboats to give him hope for his family’s survival, but there was none (Martel). Later in the novel, Patel has to change his vegetarian part in him to survive. He expresses the difficulty he experienced in claiming the life of a fish through beheading, as illustrated in chapter 61 (Martel). For this reason, Patel’s life changes hold them accountable for the unbearable challenges he faces that make him a survivor.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for the abolishment of the different forms of discrimination against African Americans. 1950 and the years before that saw a growing resistance to the social constructs that unfairly treated African Americans, but behind the needed change was Martin Luther. He had been elected the leader of the Civil Rights Movement group, which initiated civil changes in the government of the United States of America (Lewis and Carson). The tactic of non-violent protests that he drew from Gandhi’s philosophy was very effective in this mission. Looking back at Luther’s childhood, it was not pleasant. At the age of 12 years, he attempted suicide after learning that his grandmother had a heart attack problem (Lewis and Carson). This challenge and many others that he went through made him brave and stronger for instigating the needed changes in the government, which saw the abolishment of African-American racial segregation.
Dr. Martin Luther King held peaceful demonstrations. His tactics were very effective since they were non-violent and concisely portrayed what the African Americans needed to do for them. The necessity to use such a tactic was supported by the fact that the African-Americans were the minority, which made them fighting for their rights through physical means a losing battle (Kupper). The demonstrations aimed to shatter decades of mind enslavement where African Americans were treated as less human beings. With the protests led by Martin Luther King came a new image of self-respect and dignity starting to establish itself among themselves. The non-violent tactic would gain a foothold because he wrote books that advocated for change, such as books, essays, and speeches (Kupper). This form of demonstration is more effective, impacting the citizens of the United States forever with changes made to the Civil Rights Act as a cornerstone for other leaders championing equity.
In conclusion, Patel and Luther King’s cases similarly suffer from a known status quo. In Both cases, challenges strengthen them and propel their courage to face unprecedented challenges. Change is essential as the experiences that come from it help society learn and improve. For this reason, their actions have a footprint in people’s minds as they can rise above their challenges. In addition, the actions act as turning points for societal behavioral change, making them important historical points and a change course.
Kupper, Stefan. “The Strategies of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X in the Course of the Mass African-American Protest of the Early 1960s.” GRIN, 14 Feb. 2010, www.grin.com/document/145406?lang=en#:~:text=During%20the%20late%201950s%20MLK,were%20clearly%20outnumbered%20by%20whites.
Lewis, David L, and Clayborn Carson. “The Southern Christian Leadership Conference.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2023, www.britannica.com/biography/Martin-Luther-King-Jr/The-Southern-Christian-Leadership-Conference. Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.
Martel, Y. Life of Pi. Canongate, 2003.
Pettersson, Grant. “10 Reasons Why Change Is Important for Personal Development.” Bdaily Business News, Bdaily, 10 Jan. 2020, bdaily.co.uk/articles/2015/03/12/10-reasons-why-change-is-important-for-personal-development.