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Symbolism In Yann Martel's Life Of Pi

1422 words - 6 pages

In both literature and real world there is an aspect that humankind has been afraid of, this aspect is death. Man and woman have this instinct to survive and to reach the goal of survival they will have to go to any extent to get there. In the novel, Life of Pi, a boy named Piscine Molitor Patel, also known as Pi Patel, was stuck in a situation that is hard for any man or woman to get out of and survive. Pi had lost his family on the way to Canada when the ship he was on sank and he was stranded out at sea with an orangutan, a Bengal tiger, hurt zebra and last a hyena. Throughout the journey the zebra was first to die, then the orangutan and last the hyena by Pi himself, which leaves Pi and ...view middle of the document...

Since Pi pulls Richard Parker onto the boat that "[He] threw the lifebuoy mightily. [...] With [Richard Parker’s] last energies [Richard Parker] stretched forward and took hold of it." (Martel 99). Therefore, "[He] held on to it as [he] reached for the lifebuoy, now vacant of its previous occupant. It was terrifying to be in the water” (Martel 106). The second object is an orange whistle that Pi gets before being thrown off of the Tsimtsum. The orange whistle helps Pi in one main way which is a key factor that will help Pi survive. The way it helps Pi is by getting him acquainted with Richard Parker or in other words, train him to show who the higher power in the boat is so Pi can have the tarpaulin. When Pi realizes that he cannot survive on the raft he made till rescue, which is starting to fall apart as time moves on, he knows he has to tame Richard Parker for a part of the boat he can stay on so he used the whistle and “[He] had an effect on Richard Parker. At the very blow of the whistle he cringed and he snarled” (Martel 165). Slowly this way Pi showed Richard Parker the territory that was his. After he trains him it gives Pi a type of courage and hope for the future that he will still live and make it to land.
One of the most obvious symbols is Piscine Molitor Patel. Pi Patel plays a huge role in this book and he isn’t just there but also symbolizes someone. Pi symbolizes Richard Parker by showing that Richard Parker is Pi’s own unconscious and Richard Parker is illustrated as “A symbol of the ferocity and of the natural world and of Pi's own unconscious” (Milne 140). Richard Parker will help Pi maintain himself by being there and showing Pi that there is someone still there and that he is not alone in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Since Pi will need Richard Parker to survive throughout his journey to land he has to keep him alive which will keep Pi mentally stable even though “As paradoxical as it may seem, Pi understands that his own survival depends on keeping his ferocious opponent alive and well”(Krist 1). Since Richard Parker is considered as Pi’s own unconscious, Richard Parker is basically the will in Pi that is keeping him going and not giving up hope on survival. Richard Parker also gives Pi courage and strength by helping him kill the hyena and taking care of himself and Richard Parker. Richard Parker will give Pi the courage to kill the hyena by Pi “becoming” Richard Parker “With quiet factuality Pi continues his story by relating how he took the knife and stabbed the cook: 'Still he didn't fall over[...]'. Like a sacrificial animal, the cook's throat is punctured and Pi finds it hard to stop his frenzied stabbing” (Cloete 328). Also, Pi knowing that there is a 450-pound Bengal...

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