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The Significance Of Richard Parker In Life Of Pi

1821 words - 7 pages

Picture yourself in a peaceful sleep. Suddenly, you are awake. The crackle of lightening and the swaying of the boat startle you. You get up to see what all the commotion is about. Now you are standing on the deck with the wind knocking you down. The skies open up with buckets of rain smacking against your skin with the cooling mist from the high waves are gently falling upon you. A piercing alarm and the screaming of people scratches at your ears. A second later you are standing in water up to your knees. Then in a blink of an eye you are alone. In the darkness, with nothing but water surrounding you. That is exactly where Pi was in Life of Pi. Sitting in a lifeboat in the middle of Pacific Ocean watching the Tsimtum go down not knowing if his family survived. The only things around him were a hyena, orangutan, zebra, and Richard Parker, who is a tiger. The other animals on the lifeboat did not have names, so why would this one particular animal have a name? Why is this animal so important that it gets a name, let alone a name that was made for a human? The name, Richard Parker, was not just chosen at random. It has too much meaning and history behind it to not just be a coincidence. Martel definitely chose that specific name for a reason.
Richard Parker’s original name was Thirsty, but due to a mess up in the paper work, his name became Richard Parker. The name, Richard Parker, has many meanings that describe exactly how the “tiger” acts. The name has been brought up multiple times in history and they have all involved the sea. The first time the name appeared to the public was in a novel written by Edgar Allen Poe. After the novel was published, there have been many shipwrecks with people named Richard Parker over the years. Finally, Richard Parker to Pi is not just an animal; it is his friend and the only “person” he can depend on to survive on the lifeboat. Richard Parker is Pi’s friend, just like Hobbes is Calvin’s friend in the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes.
After doing research on the name, Richard Parker, I found out that Richard means “brave, power”1 and the name Parker means “the keeper of the park”2. Richard has been the name of three kings of England making it a popular name for noble people. When England imperialized India, the name Richard became very popular, giving the reason why Richard Parker, the owner, got the name. With the alternate ending the name Parker places an even bigger role in the story. Since Pi’s father owned a zoo and Pi studied zoology, it would make sense for the reason why Martel choose a name which meant “keeper of the park”.
The Karmic numbers are 13, 14, 16, and 19 and it just so happens that Pi was 16 when he was shipwreck. The Karmic numbers begin at 1 and ends at 9. In order to find the Karmic number you add the number of the corresponding letter of each letter of your name. For Pi, “P” would be 7 and “I” would be 9. When you add them up you get 16. Not only does Pi’s name equal 16, but...

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