Life of Pi by Yann Martel Examining Pi's Savagery in Life of Pi

Essay by johnmauryHigh School, 11th gradeA, May 2009

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iAll humans are born with instincts; it is during the most desperate times in life when these instincts take control of an individual. In the novel Life of Pi by Yann Martel, the protagonist, Pi, goes through a situation that evoked his instincts to take control of himself. Pi spent 227 days as a castaway on a boat drifting in the Pacific Ocean. During this time he dealt with intense hunger and thirst and was very desperate. In the second story that Pi tells, each of the animals from the first story are symbolic of humans. Pi is related to Richard Parker, as many of their actions are similar between the two stories. In light of Pi's second story the similarities suggests that Pi uses Richard Parker to represent his instinctive mind and serve as an escape from the horrific level of savagery he sank to on the lifeboat.

Pi, however, did begin to accept his situation and realize that his instinctive mind would play a major role in his survival no matter how opposed to killing and eating his rational mind was. The savage-like behavior of Pi is brought on by intensely desperate situation, hunger, thirst, and Pi's instinctive mind represented by the Bengal tiger, Richard Parker.

When an individual acts on instincts, their actions become spontaneous and that person's beliefs and values are not part of the decision. Richard Parker represents the instinctive part of Pi's mind; this becomes clear after analysis of Richard Parker's actions and emergence in the plot. Richard Parker only emerges after the orangutan or Pi's mother is killed and Pi is in his most desperate state. This shows that Pi began acting on his instincts at this point where he felt very lonely and vulnerable while his life was...