Response – Life of Pi

10 October 2016

The novel, “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel is about a boy who lives in Pondicherry, India with his family. It is about how he and his family decide to move to Canada with the animals they own and the tragedy on sea. The book explains how Pi survives life and it is narrated by the first character, Pi, who is older now and is looking back on his life and younger years. Pi and his family embarked on the voyage to Canada along with the animals when Pi was around 16 years old. In the midst of the journey, a storm lashed the ship and Pi’s parents, brother and most of the animals did not survive.

Pi managed to escape in a life boat and initially did not realize that he had company – and who was it? Well, it was the animals and who were they? Well definitely not those Pi would have dreamt of- an orangutan, a hyena, a zebra and last, but not the least, a tiger- yes a real tiger named Richard Parker.

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The book tells us about Pi’s battle with survival and the dangers he faced, both with the animals and life at sea. At his age, it was almost impossible, but he survived. The character, Pi has great determination and made the best of the limited resources he had.

Every day during his expedition, he was faced with a new challenge. He witnessed the killing of the animals and was helpless. Finally being left alone with the tiger and being gripped with fear- he had 2 choices – to become the tiger’s prey or friend. This was in addition to the challenges at sea, with different weather conditions and with a small supply of food and a survival kit. I admire the bravery of the character Pi towards everything and his positive attitude- He never gave up even though he was forced to live in a boat with a tiger. The principle of “survival” is applicable.

Pi shows us that we must not give up when we do anything, no matter how hard it is. The theme of bravery and courage is very relevant to our world today because, we usually find ourselves not wanting to do things when we find them hard. We are always asking ourselves whether we should just take the easy way out and quit. Pi’s bravery and courage is evident in the story where it is quoted, “You might think I lost all hope at that point. I did. And as a result I perked up and felt much better. ” Also another quote that shows this is, “I was giving up. I would have given up – if a voice hadn’t made itself heard in my heart.

The voice said “I will not die. I refuse it. I will make it through this nightmare. I will beat the odds, as great as they are. I have survived so far, miraculously. Now I will turn miracle into routine. The amazing will be seen every day. I will put in all the hard work necessary. Yes, so long as God is with me, I will not die. Amen. ” The things that stands out to me in his quote is that he knew that God was with him and that God would keep him safe. Even when things are hard and you feel that there is no point in continuing, you should still persevere.

Only when you persevere, you will be able to achieve and will be rewarded. This will make you feel satisfied and better than before. You don’t know what life is going to be like, we cannot see the future, but it is our job as humans to take what comes at us and make the best of it. This is determination. The famous saying “When the going gets tough, the tough get going. ” While adrift, Pi and Richard Parker discover an island of carnivorous algae inhabited by a bountiful population of meerkats. Pi’s sees the meerkats pulling out dead fish from the ponds.

Pi and Richard Parker were delighted to find that they have found food to eat and a place to live – but no! Pi later discovers a fruit on the tree that he was sleeping on. While peeling the last few leaves around the fruit off, Pi finds that all the fruit make a perfect set of teeth. At night, Pi looks around and sees that the water colour changes and becomes acidic somehow and he knows this because he can see that fish are dying under the acidic water and floating to the top. He realizes that during the night the island somehow becomes carnivorous.

This is a message to him that the island is inhabitable and he and Richard Parker must get out of the island. So they left the next morning filling their boats with supplies of water, and seaweed and meerkats for Richard Parker. I admired Pi’s ability and patience to make the tiger, Richard Parker his friend. We must learn to be more like Pi in the way we act by being sensitive to the needs of others. When leaving the island he made sure to take food for Parker for the journey and not only for himself. We must be willing to do anything.

Pi was willing to train the tiger and he did succeed over time. This is evident in the story as in the beginning when Pi was younger, he wanted to feed the tiger not realising the dangers he was putting himself into. He only realised the danger in encountering a wild animal when his father saved him by pulling him away and bringing a goat and showing him how the tiger snatched the goat even though the tiger was in a cage. Pi wanted to feed the tiger not only because he thought Richard Parker was his friend but because he felt that all animals have souls, which is shown through their eyes.

Pi himself acknowledges the tiger as his companion in the book when he says: “Without Richard Parker, I wouldn’t be alive today to tell you my story. ” Pi had a tremendous amount of patience with the tiger. Richard Parker is very cunning and so Pi had to be more careful in the way he acted with the tiger. The patience was shown when Pi was motivated to catch food for the tiger to satisfy the tiger’s hunger. By doing this the tiger would not turn to Pi as his prey. Richard Parker was a blessing for Pi as fishing for food kept Pi busy.

Even though Pi was mortified by Richard Parker he developed a soft spot for him. He was willing to do anything to keep him alive. The author makes readers feel the love that Pi had for Richard Parker. In those times in the boat Pi gives the impression that to him Richard Parker is equivalent to a human. This is shown in the story when Pi said “Dare I say I miss him? I do. I miss him. I still see him in my dreams. They are nightmares mostly, but nightmares tinged with love. I still cannot understand how he could abandon me so unceremoniously, without any sort of goodbye, without looking back even once.

That pain is like an axe that chops at my heart. ”  This quote is telling us that when they reach Mexico, Richard Parker just walks away. Pi feels hurt. He feels as if the tiger doesn’t care about anything that has happened in the last 227 days. This really hurts Pi because he feels betrayed and saddened that Richard Parker left him. He never imagined this to happen. This proves that earlier when his father said, “you think tiger is your friend, he is an animal, not a playmate! ”, he was right because no matter what even if you think the tiger is going to be your friend he/she will not.

Even though they are not together anymore the author is giving the impression that no matter, Pi will always love Richard Parker. I admire Pi’s openness. The most important reason I admire Pi is because he prayed to God. He was universal in his thinking of religion as he followed three different religions. He was Hindu by birth but chose to practice and follow Islam and Christianity as well. Even though others like Pi’s parents and religious leaders criticize him for following more than one religion Pi still continued to do so anyway not at all effected by what others had to say.

Pi says that he meets Jesus Christ through Father Martin and Islam through Mr Kumar. Through living out these three religions Pi was able make connections between the religions. Conclusion: Therefore, I can apply this to our own society and in the way I act. The following qualities of Pi are worth noting; his determination, bravery, courage, perseverance, patience, sensitivity, willingness to do anything, love and openness. Pi’s determination has taught me to always be confident when making decisions about anything because confidence allows you and others to know that you are sure of what you are doing.

Pi’s bravery has taught me to always have a positive attitude. It has taught me when you have bravery you can convince others and that when you are brave you are determined to do what you want. Pi’s courage has taught me that when you are brave and determined you have courage to do something. I can have courage when doing extra-curricular activities. There may be no one that I know of but by doing them anyway this shows that I have courage. Pi’s perseverance has taught me to always continue what I am doing to the end. He has taught me to never leave any task undone.

Pi’s patience has taught me to always be calm with others. He has taught me not to get angry when I see something annoying me or to start grumbling. In the future I must learn to be calm with everyone and not only to my friends. Pi’s sensitivity has taught me to always be sensitive and caring to the needs of others and those around me. He has taught me to care for others by helping people carry their things or just by simply brightening a person’s day. Pi’s willingness to do anything had taught me to always be ready to help others no matter what.

He has taught me to always be ready to lend a helping hand at anything. I can do this by helping my school out at school working bees. Pi’s love has taught me that I must not boast about how we love people, but simply show love through our everyday actions. I can show love by praying for the needy and others who have asked for prayers or by sitting with people at lunch time that may not have a friend to sit with. Lastly, Pi’s openness has taught me to keep my mind and soul open for everyone and everything.

He has taught me to start things with an open mind instead of in a bad way which may affect how I may do things. We can learn to be more like Pi we can be more loving, brave and open to those around us. From this story, I have learnt that I can do anything that I persevere. We must all be like Pi in the way we lead our lives. Pi never judged anyone. He always saw the best in everyone and everything. I have also learnt that being patient can get me somewhere in life. Patience is the ability to endure waiting, delay, or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset, or to persevere calmly when faced with difficulties.

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