Culminating Essay

Life of Pi: Survival


            In the novel Life of Pi, by Yann Martel the theme of survival is essential to the novel, in this novel the author expresses the extents an individual would go to in order to survive. The story starts off with the author feeling restless making him travel to India. When in a café in the village of Pondicherry, India he encounters a man that believes he can tell a story so amazing it would give him faith in God. The story was of Piscine Patel otherwise known as Pi; he sure was an amazing young man having to go through many hardships at a young age. At the age of sixteen he ends up losing his family due to a sinking ship however he survives and is stranded at sea with a tiger known as Richard Parker. Throughout the novel, the author really expresses the extents an individual would go through to live, ranging from; physical survival, mental/spiritual survival, to biological survival.

            Physical survival is key when one is trying to survive out at sea, and to add to the challenge Pi is with a Bengal tiger. Pi turns out to be a very intelligent young man, because he builds himself a raft to keep distance from the tiger. At the zoo Richard Parker is used to being fed constantly, however at sea the only real food Pi can feed the tiger is the fish he catches or it’ll be him. While Pi feeds the tiger fish he himself eats the limited amount of canned food that was aboard the emergency boat, but one day Pi accidently loses all of his food to the sea. Now the will to survive kicks in and Pi is left with no option but leave his vegetarian ways to catch fish for himself and Richard Parker. It is surprising how one will go against his own religion in order to survive; this really demonstrates how essential physical survival is.

            The next most important method of survival next to physical would be mental/ spiritual. Why is this so essential one is may ask? The reason for this being is, Pi is alone at sea with a man-eating tiger he needs some sort of distraction to keep his mind of everything. It is also very important for Pi to do so because he has recently lost his family in a ship wreck, and currently is not in the right state of mind to be able to deal with such an emotional trauma. However, Pi is a genius he is able to occupy himself by writing a journal, catching fishes and by spending sometime every day trying to tame the beast. These are the basic two needs of survival one will ever need in any scenario where it may be necessary.

            The last of the survival issues Pi has to face is possibly the most important one for him which is biological survival. Pi has to pass his genes on in order to continue on the Patel name. This is more important for Pi than it might be for anyone ever, because he is the last one left of his family. Therefore if he wishes to continue on the name of his family in Canada, he must settle down with the woman of his dreams and reproduce. But, at the end of the novel we find out Pi is married and has two beautiful children, meaning Pi has accomplished this task.

            Using his father’s taught a basic survival skill Pi was able to survive. He overcame the physical aspect of survival by giving up his vegetarian ways for fish. He also took the news pretty well that he was now considered an orphan, not to mention also being able to get rid of his fear of the tiger and tame it. Lastly at the end of the novel the reader discovers that Pi has been able to overcome any obstacle that has been placed in his way, and has a family of his own. Therefore this novel does have a happy ending.  

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