Believability on the Axes of Structuralism: Yan Martel’s Life of Pi

Seyed Javad Habibi, Sara Soleimani Karbalaei


Elaborating on parallel, substitutional and correlated elements of the narrative in Yan Martel’s Life of Pi, this study aims at examining Martel’s technique for presenting a believable story in his novel. To discuss the way the believability of Pi’s narrative gets solidified, this enquiry takes advantage of the organizing principles of structuralism, namely, the metonymical-syntagmatic and the metaphorical-paradigmatic axes. Attributing the various correlating elements of the novel to these axes shows that what actually makes Pi a reliable narrator and simultaneously his narrative believable are the very parallel structures of the novel.


Keywords: structuralism; metonymical-syntagmatic axis; metaphorical-paradigmatic axis; believability


Full Text:



Lacey, A. R (1996). A dictionary of philosophy. 3rd Ed. London: Routledge.

Martel, Y. (2002). Life of Pi. 2001. New Delhi: Penguin Books.

Rimmon-Kenan, S. (2002). Narrative fiction: Contemporary Poetics. 2nd Ed. London: Routledge.

Saussure, F. de (1959). Course in general linguistics. Ed. Charles Bally and Albert Sechehaye. Trans. Wade Baskin. New York: Philosophical Library, Inc.

Scholes, R. (1982). Semiotics and interpretation. New Haven: Yale University Press.

--- (1974). Structuralism in literature: An introduction. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Turner, T. (1973). Piaget’s Structuralism. American Anthropologist 75. 351-373.

Runes, D.D. (Ed.) (1983). The dictionary of philosophy. New York: Philosophical Library.


  • There are currently no refbacks.




eISSN : 2550-2247

ISSN : 0128-5157