How To Tame Richard Parker's Life Of Pi

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Pi’s duress induces spiritual insight as his faith in God and in his humanity is tested. Martel notes the tragic reversion of humans into animalism in the battle for survival, which is reminiscent of Joseph Conrad’s Kurtz in Heart of Darkness. The difference between human and beast becomes narrower as Pi proceeds to tame Richard Parker, and he gradually reverts to the bestial side in him. He, frantically, admits that he has “descended to a level of savagery [he has never] imagined possible” (218), “driven by the extremity of [his] need and madness to which it pushed me” (284). The fact that Pi has grown up in zoo town, has made him familiar with the wonders and dangers of the natural world. Zoology gives him the confidence to handle…show more content…
Time? It might be weeks before a ship sighted me. I had all the time in the world. Resolve? There’s nothing like extreme need to give you resolve. Knowledge? Was I not a zookeeper’s son? Reward? Was there any reward greater than life? Any punishment worse than death? I looked at Richard Parker. My panic was gone. My fear was dominated. Survival was at hand. (182) Pi engages in a Darwinian struggle for survival while stranded in the ocean, regarded by Foukeas as a significant setting, “where the decisive events, the moments of eternal choice, of temptation, fall and redemption occur” (115). Reason and belief in God constitute Pi’s means of survival. Dwyer points out that, Life of Pi rewrites other shipwreck narratives involving animals by unsettling anthropomorphic and anthropocentric norms of friendship and dominance. It presents instead a Darwinian, or more broadly speaking, an ecological story line, which means that the human protagonist has emotional, moral and intellectual interest in the animal question. (15) Pi’s success in overcoming his ordeal glorifies the mind’s resilience and the refusal to be crippled by…show more content…
Amazingly, Pi is hurt and feels abandoned, “because Richard Parker had left [him] so unceremoniously. What a terrible thing it is to botch a farewell” (316). Pi’s attitude demonstrates his sense of affinity between humans and animals, despite their differentness. Moreover, his story, according to Dwyer, reflects a duality, “as his choice as an adult to pursue careers in both religious studies and zoology: His interest in these two disciplines reflects his desire to understand both human and non-human animal behaviour”

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