The debate between religion and science as a way to pursue knowledge of uncertainties often emerges as a sensitive and heated topic. The two sides rarely agree due to their opposing ideas. This common dichotomy of religion versus science is explored in a great extent in the novel, the "Life of Pi." Through techniques of metaphor, imagery and allusions, Yann Martel employs both major and minor events in the book to suggest that both religion and science are necessary in Pi's character development, both to sustain himself in critical situations and broaden his knowledge of reality. This aspect is explored in a great degree through Pi's experiences prior to arriving on the lifeboat, in attendance of the lifeboat and thereafter, through Pi's ordeal on the lifeboat. All pleasurable and ordeal experiences manifest Pi's passion and interest in both religion and science. .
Pi's life in Pondicherry reflects his extensive interest both for religion and science, even before the introduction of the lifeboat. Essentially, he develops the appeal for religion and science through his childhood teachers, Mr. and Mr. Kumar "(61). Pi's depiction of their importance in his childhood can be traced back to the time where he starts to embrace Islam. Psychologically, Mr Kumar, the sufi assists Pi to comprehend and believe in something beyond the tangible, which in some cases, is to trust in the "better story"" (317), directly corresponding to his significant spiritual-influence on Pi. In contrast, the other Mr. Kumar, the biologist "who happens to be Atheist" is illustrated as a rational and eccentric figure, which corresponds to his expertise in science. He also appears as a "prophet"" (61) to Pi's childhood, because he sparks the aspect of reason within Pi. The biologist develops the importance of reason, which proves to be greatly necessary in Pi's ordeal on the Pacific Sea later in his life. .
Through Pi's understanding of both religion and science, he develops appreciation for both subjects and eventually he grasps the interchangeability of the two topics in guiding him to understand the world.