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Pi's Benevolent Charity

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The Bengal Tiger’s Benevolent Charity

No birds, no insects, no squirrels; no beast to see except one adult Bengal tiger only a couple feet in front of point blank range. A sight horrid enough to shut down the throbbing of the heart, but also a sight benevolent enough to reassure one man in God. In the novel Life of Pi by Yann Martel, an adolescent named Piscine Patel, also known as Pi Patel, gets stranded on a lifeboat with no company except that of a Bengal tiger in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This tiger does not only end up becoming one of Pi’s biggest obstacles of survival, but also his inspiring companion and friend. Many readers disbelieve that the (Bengal) tiger was the best option to be Pi’s companion. However, the Bengal tiger
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The irony is that tiger’s are even more terrified of the human’s phantasmic cornea, and pentagram like pupil. This justification is what also makes the Bengal tiger a perfect candidate for the story. This is because tigers (specifically the Bengal tiger), have been hunted to near extinction with only “2500 or more in the wild” (Tilson 23). Due to this, tigers usually teach their cubs never to stifle with a human as it can lead to a cold bullet to the skull. The fact is that “one study of tigers in Bangladesh indicated that two-thirds of the animals avoided human beings, but that one-third were taught by their mothers to hunt humans. The threat to human life should not be exaggerated; there are few tigers and nearly all of them want nothing to do with humanity” (“Bengal Tiger”). Statistically it can be assumed that Richard Parker fits into that sixty-six percent that will not attack a human. Even if the statistics are not true, Richard Parker “was caught while still a cub” (Martel 310-311). This allows the readers to deduce that he does not have too much recollection of his mother’s teachings, since he was placed in a zoo environment until the sinking of the Tsimtsum. Therefore with logical thinking, Richard Parker should be more assimilated and somewhat used to humans. Pi was…show more content…
The gift of life should be what is critiqued above all when refuting proposals of other animals to embody Richard Parker. However, the evidence to the Bengal Tiger’s superiority lies in Martel’s Life of Pi itself. One plot point that proved use of the Bengal tiger was when a blind castaway attempted to kill Pi as a last resort. Richard Parker ended up giving “me (Pi) a life, my own, but at the expenses of taking one” (Martel 321). The Bengal tiger killed the man, but only because it was put in a scenario in which its fear of humans was invoked, this was triggered when a man that never established omega relations crossed into Richard Parker’s domain. Not a lot of other animals would have done this, an animal too docile like a zebra would in no way protect its owner as it lacks the appropriate bloodlust. While this plot point shows the gift of life the Bengal tiger relinquished to Pi, and also singles out many animals that would not have made an appropriate companion, it does not narrow down the animals enough. With this point alone, the orangutan, Grey wolf, chimpanzee or even a pet dog could protect Pi from the hands of the blind castaway. However the deciding criterion is the fierce nature of the animal. Pi establishes very clearly that Richard Parker (Bengal tiger) was a “stunning creature. Such a noble mien. How apt
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