Life of Pi – Will to Survive Literary Analysis

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In life, individuals are faced with severe challenges that might even end up as a life or death situation. It is how the individual faces it that determines their fate. In the novel “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel, Pi Patel was faced with life and death when himself and his family were immigrating to Canada then midway through the journey their ship sinks, leaving Pi to fend for himself in the Pacific ocean. However, Pi is not alone on his lifeboat in his presence are a zebra, orangutan, hyena, and a Bengal tiger. All the other animals on the raft quickly die leaving on the tiger and Pi left on the raft. Throughout the novel, it demonstrates how Pi faces his fears and portrays the prime example of the primacy of survival by his determination and courage. Pi, in order to survive needed to learn how to live on the ocean with limited supplies and with a starving tiger. Ultimately it was Pi’s will to live that pushed everything else on the side in order to survive. When an individual finds their will to survive they then will become determined to find any way to live because that drive makes them strong enough to build up enough courage to fight for their lives at all costs.

After waking up in the lifeboat stranded Pi is scared and confused. A million thoughts raced through his mind but, then he is interrupted by the animals fighting. Initially, Pi is horrified by what he is seeing because ever since he was a young boy his father, who owned a zoo would remind him of the dangers of the animals, “life will defend itself no matter how small it is. Every animal is ferocious and dangerous.” (Martel 47). These words from Pi’s father rush through his head as he is watching the animals fight for survival. Pi soon realizes that he was not just put on this raft to keep him alive but rather for bait due to the other passengers not wanting any more threats. “ They were using me as a fodder. “They were hoping the hyena would attack me and that somehow I would get rid of it and make the boat safer for them.” (Martel 121). This demonstrates the fact that there are no boundaries for any creature when their life is in danger. After the animals fought Pi and Richard Parker, the Bengal tiger were left alone. Pi needed to think rationally in order to survive, he created a second raft to keep a safe distance away from the tiger and found out how to subdue the tiger by making it seasick. Pi thought extremely rationally when dealing with Richard, he thought of almost every situation that could happen and did his best to prevent it. (Sparknotes n.p) Pi knew giving up his life was not an option so he continued the fight to survive. Martel portrayed the idea of survival throughout the build-up of determination and courage that brewed in Pi while he developed through the novel with his smart thinking.

Once Pi mapped out his situation he came across another man stranded on a lifeboat approaching him. The man, in the same situation as Pi, has not had food for a while and is searching for his next meal what Pi does not know is that he could very well be his next target. Just like Pi, the man is focused on survival and without a second thought, the man attacks and attempts to kill Pi. Pi was sure that this would be the end of his life until Richard Parker lunged at the man killing him. When faced with death it can bring out the “dangerous” side of animals and can even cause humans to act in disgusting ways in order to survive, and bring out their animalistic ways.

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Life of Pi – Will to Survive Literary Analysis. (2020, Oct 31). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/life-of-pi-will-to-survive/



How does Pi's knowledge of animals help him survive?
Pi's knowledge of animals allows him to understand their behavior and adapt to their surroundings, which helps him navigate and survive in the harsh ocean environment. Additionally, Pi's ability to communicate with animals, such as Richard Parker, allows him to form a bond and establish a sense of companionship, which boosts his morale and will to survive.
How does Pi's survival diminish his humanity?
Pi's survival diminishes his humanity because he is no longer able to feel emotions and he is no longer able to interact with other humans.
What is Pi's will to survive?
Pi's will to survive is very strong. He is determined to survive no matter what the cost.
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