Pi and Richard Parker in Life of Pi

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Pi gives two renditions of his 227 days on the ocean. His second version, instead of involving animals, claims that other survivors from the ship are present. Pi witnesses and takes part in cannibalism, going against his vegetarianism and human nature. Pi also commits murder in this adaptation of his story, killing his mother’s murderer, a reality that is hard for Pi to come to terms with. Since this event is easier for him to cope with if is not the one directly involved in the killing, he replaces himself with Richard Parker. Thus, as shown by Pi’s creation of others in order to suppress guilt, the mind can invent or distort memories in order to preserve one’s sanity and spiritual survival.

The same mechanism of self preservation of the mind is shown in the movie Castaway (2000). In the movie, Chuck is the only survivor of a plane crash and he must survive a island. Humans cannot bear isolation. To cope with his loneliness, Chuck creates Wilson, a volleyball with a face drawn with blood, and treats Wilson as if he is an individual. To Chuck, Wilson is someone to engage in conversation with and a close friend. Wilson’s creation illustrates how humans will do anything to cope with loneliness, prevent insanity, and ultimately survive.

“I must say a word about fear. It is life's only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life,” (Martel, 203). On his trek, Pi faces a multitude of different fears and overcomes each one of them in order to survive. One of Pi’s greatest fears is Richard Parker, the deadly Bengal tiger. Pi realizes that he has to cope with Richard Parker, regardless of his natural fear, since they are in the lifeboat together. Pi cannot run away, he must take action. He states,

“I couldn’t always be runnin...

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...s, a group of stranded schoolboys show their need for each other’s company. The first thing the boys do is seek each other out once they arrive on the uninhabited island. The boys are young and cannot tend to their needs alone, thus it is necessary for them collaborate in order to survive. Within the group, a hierarchy of leadership is established. One person is viewed as their chief, someone of considerable wisdom and charisma to guide them. The main focus of their group is survival, however, there are two philosophies on how to survive within the group. This causes the group break into factions. Even though there are disagreements between individuals, they continue to stick together and form groups. This illustrates how collaboration between individuals is essential for survival in dire situations and how people will work together if their existence depends on it.
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