Life of Pi


Summary: Part Two, Chapters 48-62

Summary: Part Two, Chapters 48–62

Pi describes how Richard Parker got his unusual name. A hunter named Richard Parker had been trying to capture a dangerous panther. As bait, he put out a live goat, which attracted two Bengal tigers instead—a mother and cub. They were sedated and sent to the Pondicherry Zoo. A clerical error had the hunter’s name in the place where the cub’s name should have been. Thus, the cub lost his original name of Thirsty, and was then known as Richard Parker.

Now that Richard Parker is sharing Pi’s lifeboat, Pi feels certain to die. Oddly, the thought makes him feel a little better, and certainly more fearless. Since he cannot escape death, he might as well do something to soothe his aching thirst. Pi takes stock of the lifeboat. He reasons that there must be supplies on it somewhere, since it is designed for emergency situations. After noting the size and condition of the boat, Pi locates a locker full of supplies on the end of the boat beneath his tarpaulin. The locker is very close to the tiger, but Pi pulls the hatch up to separate him from the creature. Inside, he finds canned water and food bars, some of which he consumes gratefully. He then catalogues the assets of the locker, which includes several solar water stills, a survival manual, and over a month’s worth of food rations and canned water, among other things.

With his strength somewhat improved, Pi fashions a raft for himself out of oars, lifejackets, and a buoy. With the raft tied to the lifeboat, he still has access to the emergency supplies, but he is no longer in such close quarters with the tiger. While Pi is building his raft, the hyena starts whining. Richard Parker kills the hyena with great ease. He then turns toward Pi, who just manages to escape to his separate life raft. As he does so, Pi also grabs a nearby live rat and throws it into Richard Parker’s mouth.

As the days pass, Pi manages well enough on his makeshift raft, but he has far less protection from sharks than he had on the...

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