Survival in Yann Martel's Life of Pi Essay
To survive, one has to be willing to survive. In the novel Life of Pi by Yann Martel, the main character Pi is stranded on a boat with a tiger named Richard Parker after a tragic incident occurred on the ship that he was traveling on with his family and a zoo of animals. Pi is struggling to survive on the boat with the Bengal tiger, he is very fearful of his current situation with the tiger. Martel demonstrates that the only way to survive is to challenge one’s mind and self. This is conveyed through his use of characterization.
To survive, Pi must challenge his mind and self and block out everything that he fears. He is struggling to survive being stranded on a boat with a predatory tiger. Pi states, “My situation is patiently hopeless” (Martel 169). This emphasizes Pi’s despair and not being able to take control of his situation. Further in the text, Pi soon realizes that he needs to train himself to survive: “ I had to stop hoping so much that a ship would rescue me… survival had to start with me” (Martel 168). Here, Pi realizes that he needs to stop relying on others to come to his rescue. Pi needs to block out all fear clouding him from surviving.
Martel uses characterization to illustrate Pi’s growth and the technique he uses to survive. Pi develops a strategy to tame Richard Parker so that his biggest threat is gone. Pi starts to fish for both he and the tiger and notices that “ I became a hunter, I grew bolder and more agile” Martel 195). This illustrates Pi's growth from going from a shy and fragile boy to becoming; a strong and swift hunter to maintain his survival. At the beginning of the novel, Pi didn't know his place on the boat and could not block out his constant fear of Richard Parker killing him. but after taming him. “My mastery was no longer in question, as I gained confidence, on the more comfortable lifeboat” (Martel 222). This further demonstrates Pi's growth through him no longer fearing the tiger and being more self- assured of himself to the point where he can freely walk on the boat without being prey to the predatory tiger.
In essence, the main theme portrayed in the novel is survival and that the only way to survive is to challenge one’s self. Martel conveys this through characterization.