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Pi Patel's Means of Survival

  • Date Submitted: 10/20/2013 06:24 PM
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18 November 2012
Pi Patel’s Means of Survival
When a person is stranded and fighting for their life, how they decide to use the resources and knowledge they have can be the difference between living and dying. In Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, Pi’s resourcefulness is what ultimately leads to his survival.   Throughout the novel, three resources that Pi relies on are his life in India, Richard Parker, and faith in religion.
While growing up in India, Pi learns many valuable skills that he would later use to help him survive 227 days in the Pacific Ocean.   The first of these skills is swimming. Ironically, Pi is the only one in his family ever to learn to swim.   Pi describes learning to swim early on in the book as a major part of his life,   “I went there with him three times a week throughout my childhood, a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday early morning ritual...” (Martel 10).   In his younger years Pi would swim with his Uncle who he referred to as Mamaji. Swimming so often made Pi feel particularly safe around water. Since Pi is comfortable around water he is able to build and stay on a small raft he makes which keeps him a safe distance from Richard Parker.
As well as learning to swim in India, Pi also gains an excessive amount of knowledge of animals from living at a zoo.   Pi’s knowledge of animals is a major resource of Pi’s when he has to live on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger.   As Rebecca Duncan states in her article Life of Pi as a Postmodern Narrative, “Pi contextualizes his early life in the family’s zoo...the boy draws upon this knowledge to subordinate Richard Parker, the Bengal tiger, to his will and prevent the beast from devouring him” (Duncan 4).   Duncan states that Pi uses the knowledge that he has from living on a zoo to keep himself alive.   Pi deals with Richard Parker cautiously because he knows that if he makes one wrong move, he will end up dead.
Finally, in India Pi begins his journey of faith. Pi learns to how practice Christianity,...

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