Essay about Determination and Perseverance in Life of Pi, by Yann Martel

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The primacy of survival and self preservation are natural instincts, often triggered by the ordeals of suffering. In the novel Life of Pi, Yann Martel exemplifies the notion of survival, as the shipwrecked inhabitants experience the trials and tribulations of suffering. A conception of willpower is projected through the actions of distinctive characters, who demonstrate their ambition towards life. Their paradoxical attempt of valiant or barbaric acts, emphasizes the key idea of survival. Determination and perseverance is evident in the actions executed by Pi, the zebra and the hyena, assisted by their sheer will to live.
The main protagonist, Piscine Patel displays an innate desire for survival as he demonstrates his versatility through to the absence of refinement. His morality is shattered, as he comes across the dire circumstances of his ordeal. This is evident when Pi abandons his vegetarianism and transforms into a blood-thirsty carnivore, in order to stay alive. "… driven by the extremity of my need and the madness to which it pushed me, I ate some of his flesh … my suffering was unremitting and he was already dead." (Martel 322). Pi's desperation leads to insanity brought on by hunger and costs him every morsel of the dignified and socialized part of him. The urge to live on takes charge and descends him into a level of savagery and violence due to the means of survival. Pi's animalistic instinct is projected through the character of Richard Parker, that eventually becomes a reason for him to live. It proves to be the driving force behind his uncivilized acts as he dominates the foreign environment. "If I still had the will to live, it was thanks to Richard Parker … Without Richard Parker, I wouldn't be alive today…" (...

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...nt in the barbaric acts executed by the hyena as it demonstrates its will to live.
The will to live depicted through the actions of characters such as Pi, the zebra and the hyena, provides insight to the idea of survival. This is apparent as the individuals are pushed to the brink of their powers of endurance, confronting the struggles of abandonment and starvation. Driven by the expedition of suffering, they demonstrate their persistence and undertake the harsh trial of their journey. In contrast to the use of cannibalism made by Pi and the Hyena, the zebra illustrates the notion of vulnerability and willpower as it fights against the odds of survival. It is evident that the struggle to live is essential for survival whether it is disguised as a barbarous or heroic act.

Works Cited

Martel, Yann. Life of Pi: A Novel. New York: Harcourt, 2001. Print.

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