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Chapter

LIFE OF PI Richard Parker Analysis.docx

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Department
English
Course Code
EN 1001
Professor
Marilou Mc Kenna

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LIFE OF PI: LESSONS LEARNT FROM RICHARD PARKER Though there were many things that Pi had known with his previous knowledge of zoo animals, his experiences with Richard Parker helped solidify if not expand this knowledge – teaching him values of people, life and moreover himself. From an early age, Pi was conditioned by his father Santhosh to believe that tigers were a source of danger; he said “I want you to understand that you are never – under any circumstances – to touch a tiger, to pet a tiger, to put your hands through the bars of a cage, even to get close to a cage”. He further advocated that animals of all sorts have the power to kill if not injure, if put in the position to do so. He also stated that “Life will defend itself no matter how small it is. Every animal is ferocious and dangerous. It may not kill you but it will certainly injure you. It will scratch you and bite you, and you can look forward to a swollen, pus-filled infection, a high fever and a ten-day stay in the hospital” By dictating this to Pi and his brother Ravi, Santhosh conditioned Pi to believe that all animals were dangerous, and by no means should he even be near them. Thus when Pi was in the vulnerable position of being put in the boat with Richard Parker, he immediately came to the conclusion that he was going to die. His previous knowledge put him in the intolerant position to believe that he was on the path to imminent death; which was the sole reason he believed that since he was going to die, he might as well obtain some water while dying, and tries to get the survival kit. It was during this time where he found great despair, saying “that oncoming death is terrible enough, but worse still is oncoming death with time to spare, time in which all the happiness that was yours and all the happiness that might have been yours becomes clear to you. “ But by seeing Richard Parker kill the hyena he realized that the qualities human or animal exhibits in their natural state changes drastically when they are put in the position of being attacked, or being provoked to attack. Thus, learning that while his father was true in some sense, ultimately animals were not always deadly creatures, so long as you respect their boundaries and have a preset social dominance clear for them to understand. Ultimately, he learned that he could survive if he had the mindset to do so. His values changed drastically and he recognized that 1 dying of a tiger attack was nothing compared to the dragged out pain and exasperation of dying from thirst. He had previous knowledge of how social inferiority impacted animals. “Much hostile and aggressive behaviour among animals is the expression of social insecurity. The animal...must know where it stands, whether above you or below you. Social rank is central to how it leads its life. Rank determines whom it can associate with and how; where and when it can eat; where it ccan rest; where it can drink; and so on. Until it knows its rank for certain, the animal lives a life of unbearable anarchy. It remains nervous, jumpy, and dangerous.” (48)
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