Is his needs. He develops new skills such

Is it possible to be 16 years old, stranded at sea for
227 days on the same boat as a tiger and come out alive? The answer to this
question will most likely be “that’s impossible”. But Yann Martel
wrote a book giving similar instructions on how to do just that. In Yann
Martel’s novel, Life of Pi, readers
follow Pi, a 16-year-old boy, throughout his journey of being stranded in the
middle of the Pacific Ocean with a tiger for 227 days. Throughout the book, the
most definitive theme is survival. Pi is put through a lot of dangerous
situations and the challenge of survival can be looked at, at many different
levels. Not only does he learn to survive physically, but also learns to survives
mentally and spiritually. Throughout Pi’s journey, Martel enforces a theme of
survival and presents the extremes that people will go through in order to
survive.To begin with, Pi survives physically by learning to
deal with his needs. He develops new skills such as hunting for food, looking
for freshwater to drink, and creating shelter to support himself. First of all,
Pi learns to hunt fish for Richard Parker and himself. The first time Pi tries
to fish turns into fail. As Pi tries again, he uses his resources and catches a
fish. “My arms were aching. Every time I got the fish close to the raft, it
beat about with such frenzy that I was cowed into letting out some line. At
last I managed to haul it aboard … I held the fish down by kneeling on it and
using my hands” (Martel 233). When Pi decides to learn how to fish, he doesn’t
give up even though he has never fished before. Pi supports himself and Richard
Parker by learning how to fish. He practises and practises until he becomes a
master at catching fish. This shows that Pi never gave up when it came to
survival. Secondly, Pi uses his resources to help him collect fresh water from
the sea. When Pi discovers some solar stills on the boat, he goes straight to
work. “I read the instructions carefully, as the survival manual told me to. I
inflated all twelve cones with air and I filled each buoyancy chamber with the
requisite ten litres of seawater” (Martel 218). Even though Pi has water cans
to help him survive for a while, he still chooses to be safe and have more in
case something ever happens. This shows how precise Pi is when it comes to
helping him survive. Lastly, Pi uses his skills and knowledge to build a raft
to help him escape the boat that Richard Parker was on. As he saw Richard
Parker he thought, “My chest became tight with fear … I needed shelter and
right away … I built a raft” (Martel 186-187). Pi builds a raft and attaches it
to the boat to escape the boat. Even though he has many fears, he decides he
would rather explore all his options than rather be killed by Richard Parker.
This also shows how brave Pi is because he knows that many things can go wrong
with the raft, such as sinking or being eaten by sharks, but he still decides
to build the raft if it means it can help him survive and be far from the animals
on the boat. To sum up, as Pi uses his knowledge and develops new skills, he
supports himself physically by looking for food, water, and building shelter no
matter how dangerous the tasks are.In addition, not only does Pi survive physically, but he
also survives mentally. Pi’s determination, motivations and optimism helps him
overcome his doubts and fears. At first, Pi doubts his chances at surviving at
sea once he realizes that he must share the lifeboat with Richard Parker, the
tiger, but his motivation and optimism help him survive throughout the story.
As Pi is about to give up, he thinks to himself, “I will not die. I refuse it.
I will make it through this nightmare. I will beat the odds, as great as they
are” (Martel 186). Pi shakes off his doubts and tries not to lose hope in
himself. He motivates himself and is determined that he can overcome any
challenge he faces, which helps him survive in the end. His new decision to
live is the beginning of his loss of innocence. At this point, Pi knows that in
order to survive, he will have to do things he never would have done in the
past. He also starts preparing himself mentally for his journey ahead.
Moreover, Pi survives mentally by conquering his fear for Richard Parker and using
his knowledge of animals to tame and train Richard Parker mentally to show him
who is the boss. When Pi and Richard Parker are alone on the boat, Pi remembers
his father’s words about tigers. “I looked at him, full of fearful wonder … I
had to tame him. It was at that moment that I realized that necessity. It was
not a question of him or me, but of him and me” (Martel 206). Even though Pi is
very scared of Richard Parker since he is a tiger, he realizes that the only
way both of them can survive is if they cooperate with each other. At this
point, Pi tames Richard Parker in an animal to animal way. This is also the
part of the book where Pi starts to develop and change into the person he becomes
in the end. It is where Pi is in the position he is in and has made up a reason
and plan to survive. To conclude, Pi survives mentally by his motivation and by
conquering his fears and putting them aside in order to survive.Lastly, Pi’s connections to his religions help him
stay sane and survive spiritually. To start with, Pi’s faith and connection to
the three religions help him survive his journey. Throughout the book, he
continues to pray to God and connect with Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism.
When stuck on the boat with Richard Parker, he says, “Yes, so long as god is
with me, I will not die. Amen” (Martel 186). At first, when he thinks about
survival he thinks about giving up, but his faith in God keeps him going. This
shows that Pi believes that when God is with him, he could survive anything.
This brings together the themes of spirituality and survival. Pi relies on
religion to survive. One of the main reason he has survived is because of his
connection to God. This point of the novel is really important because it shows
that even though Pi has lost his innocence at the end of the novel, he hasn’t
lost his connection to religion. He continues to stay connected like his old
self, since it is the only thing he has left while stranded at sea. On the
other hand, Pi also goes against his religion and beliefs in order to survive.
As the days pass and Pi slowly runs out of biscuits to eat, he learns how to
fish in order to help himself and Richard Parker. Instead of dying of
starvation, he learns to accept the fact that he needs to eat the fish. “You
may be astonished that in such a short period of time Pi could go from
weeping over the muffled killing of a flying fish to gleefully bludgeoning to
death a dorado” (Martel 234). Pi changes his vegetarian lifestyle to survive on
the boat. This shows the choices that Pi is forced to make in order to help himself
and Richard Parker to survive. At this point, his decision adds to the
beginning of his loss of innocence. In the beginning back in India, Pi was a
vegetarian boy who never ate meat his entire life. After being stranded at sea,
forced to survive through hard times, he kills fish and eats them even if it
means going against his religion and beliefs. To sum up, Pi survives his
journey at sea, spiritually, because of his connection to God, even if it means
going against his beliefs in order to survive.

In conclusion, the theme of survival is highly
enforced and people go through many extremes in order to survive. Pi survives
in three different ways. He survives physically by dealing with his basic needs
like hunting for food, water and shelter. He also survives mentally by
motivating himself through his journey and conquering his fears in order to
move on. Lastly, he survives spiritually by connecting to the three religions
that are mentioned in the book and connecting to God. In Life of Pi, Pi is
willing to do anything to survive. Surviving on your own is tricky by itself,
but when you add a tiger and the ocean, it’s gets even tougher.

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