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Life Of Pi By Yann Martel Examining Pi's Savagery In Life Of Pi

1302 words - 6 pages

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 ...view middle of the document...

" (Martel 164) Pi has his animal instincts to thank for his survival and shows that he knows this by thanking Richard Parker, the representation of his instincts. Pi's rational mind was not fit to survive all that time on the lifeboat; he is a vegetarian and a very religious person and would not have had any food on the lifeboat if not for his animal instincts. His rational self would not have killed the cook or the turtles and fish and he would have starved because there was no access to vegetables and fruits in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. On page 164, Pi talks of his instincts in the form of Richard Parker as he states, "He pushed me to go on living. I hated him for it yet at the same time I was grateful." He says that he hated his instincts for keeping him alive because they caused him to do things that were against his beliefs and values but at the same time he was grateful for his life. Pi has only his animal instincts to thank for his survival in a lifeboat for 227 days.After many desperate days on the lifeboat, Pi's instinctive mind begins to blend with his rational mind. On page 197, after he kills and eats a turtle without blaming it on his instincts represented by Richard Parker, he realizes that he has "descended to a level of savagery [he] never imagined possible." His instincts have blended with his sensible mind and he is no longer the strict vegetarian that he was before he was put in this situation. During his time on the lifeboat, Pi came a long way from the strict vegetarian that he once was. Pi speaks of his former self as he says, "To think that when I was a child I always shuddered when I snapped open a banana because it sounded to me like the snapping of an animal's neck." (197) The experience on the boat drastically changed him as his instincts no longer had to control him to kill and to eat. After continually killing to eat, he gets used to the idea and no longer needs his instincts to take over for him to eat. His vegetarian principles are irrelevant with the extremity of the situation as he could not have lived by his beliefs and values if he wanted to survive. His rational mind stepped away from its belief and values and began to accept a kill or starve mentality. Pi's lengthy and desperate situation caused his rational mind to accept that he had...

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