Life of Pi
by Yann Martel
Summary: Part Two, Chapters 63-79
Pi tells us that in total he spent 227 days alone at sea, longer than any other castaway he has heard of. The days were busy. Pi details his daily schedule of tasks such as gathering water from the stills and catching whatever sea life he can to feed himself and Richard Parker. He devotes part of each day to praying, writing in his journal, and observing Richard Parker. Pi believes that part of what enabled him to survive his long ordeal is that he was able to forget the concept of time.
Although Pi clings to life, survival is by no means easy. His clothing gradually disintegrates until he is completely naked except for the whistle hanging around his neck. He is also covered in sores from his exposure to the weather. He is surprised at how accustomed he becomes to eating animal flesh, and learns to view turtles as a special delicacy because their spinal fluid is drinkable. In Chapter 66, Pi admits, “I descended to a level of savagery I never imagined possible.” Although Pi continues to practice his Christian, Muslim and Hindu religious rituals, he confesses that sometimes it is hard for him to hold onto his love for God. This love and his faith do not abandon him, however.
Pi sets off flairs occasionally, but to no avail. Although the survival manual contains some information about how to navigate, he is never able to learn how to read the stars correctly. In time, Pi realizes that he needs to increase his own territory so that he can spend more time on the lifeboat rather than the raft. He uses the whistle to annoy Richard Parker, and defends himself with shields made of turtle shells. He also takes advantage of Richard Parker’s tendency to seasickness, rocking the boat violently to nauseate the tiger. Eventually, Pi manages to consign Richard Parker to the bottom of the lifeboat. He also handles Richard Parker’s feces in order to show his dominance over the tiger. Once, Pi even attempts to eat the tiger’s feces, but finds it completely devoid of nutrients.
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