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Published: 04-11-2019

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The Character's Development and Controversial Sacrifice in The Life of Pi

Equivalent exchange, an absolute law in nature, dictates that one have to give up anything so that a single could obtain some thing that is equal in value. By this logic, sacrifice is, at its really core, a necessity in life nevertheless, it is also a gray location with no definite lines for great or poor. Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi illustrates this overarching theme throughout Piscine “Pi” Patel’s struggle to overcome the daunting activity of survival in solitude. Soon after a storm washes away all hints of life and hope, Pi, alone and scared, struggles to come to terms with the truth that the life he when lived is now gone, such that neither religion nor loved ones can help him anymore. Equipped with sparse supplies and miles of water amongst him and land, Pi is set adrift on a lifeboat for two-hundred twenty-seven days, with only a Bengal tiger to keep him firm and the continuous threat of insanity and death shadowing his each action. Every sacrifice Pi tends to make is a value he have to spend to maintain himself alive, even if the outcome can be regarded as worse than the option primarily based on differing perspectives of the predicament. Despite his formerly principled life style and faiths, Pi soon learns that he need to leave behind or look previous his core beliefs and step out of his comfort zone in exchange for survival, exemplifying the necessity of sacrifice and its ambiguous nature.

Richard Parker is such an important figure to Pi’s survival that Pi purposely sacrifices his personal security and comfort to maintain the tiger and, by default, himself alive. After the other animals are killed, Richard Parker gives Pi one thing that nothing at all else can during his lonely journey: companionship. Stranded in the middle of the ocean with no hope for rescue, it is in this deep loneliness that Pi realizes his worry of insanity spurred by solitude overpowers his fear of Richard Parker this epiphany allows him to choose Richard Parker’s survival over his personal immediate safety: “It was Richard Parker who calmed me down. It is the irony of this story that the 1 who scared me witless to start with was the really very same who brought me peace, goal, I dare say even wholeness” (Martel 162). In quelling Pi’s require for companionship and keeping him occupied and alert, Richard Parker fills Pi’s empty days with operate rather than permitting him to dawdle his thumbs. This makes it possible for Pi to concentrate on maintaining both of them alive rather than waste away, hopeless. However, by maintaining the tiger alive, Pi endures the continual worry of obtaining Richard Parker turn on him and kill him nonetheless, to him, this outcome is considerably better than being entirely alone. Pi’s sacrifice to keep Richard Parker alive in the kind of depleting supplies and psychological horror pays off in the comfort of being aware of he may not die alone on the ocean. This toxic connection between the tiger and Pi progresses till Pi admits that “without Richard Parker, [he] wouldn’t be alive right now to tell you [his] story” (164). In spite of Richard Parker continually terrorizing Pi and generating his life on the boat a nonstop game of paranoia and walking on eggshells, Pi realizes that his nemesis is also his savior. The reality that each of them are stuck in the very same scenario with each other brings comfort to Pi, who sees no hope in his survival, and Richard Parker is usually there to motivate him to continue on—if not for the tiger, then for himself. He considers the tiger so useful that he is willing to cohabitate in order to subvert the threat of loneliness that he predicts will kill him if left alone for extended adequate. Pi admitting that Richard Parker is a “good” point for him in spite of the apparent discomfort he feels augments just how deep his trauma is, consequently highlighting the significance of his sacrifice. In this case, whilst his survival can be regarded as “good,” the trauma he receives because of it leads this specific sacrifice to err more on the side of negligence.

In surviving, which is always a “good” factor, Pi now has to live with permanent trauma for the rest of his life. As such, keeping Richard Parker alive is each “good” and “bad,” as a result illustrating the unclear nature of sacrifice. Pi also says while seeking back on the events that transpire all through the novel, “Richard Parker has stayed with me. I’ve never ever forgotten him. Dare I say I miss him? I do. I miss him. I still see him in my dreams. They are nightmares largely, but nightmares tinged with enjoy. Such is the strangeness of the human heart” (six). Pi’s dependency on Richard Parker throughout his time on the boat morphs his perception of him to the point where he appears back with fondness in spite of the tiger’s antagonistic part. Pi finds that regardless of Richard Parker’s nightmarish existence on the lifeboat, he remembers him as the one particular factor that kept him alive, busy and focused. This is proof that Pi has been psychologically scarred by the tiger, so significantly so that he has recognized his personal dependency on Richard Parker and openly accepts it as proof that his decision to maintain Richard Parker alive was a very good one particular. Nevertheless, this is not the case. Each scenarios of cohabitating with Richard Parker regardless of the mental strain and the alternative of solitude are classified as “bad” since they offer you various varieties of anguish either way. Just because 1 decision seems better than the other does not imply that it is a “good” decision. Without having Richard Parker, Pi would have been alone and with no much operate to maintain him occupied, which he admits to, but with Richard Parker around, Pi still receives trauma that does not disappear even into adulthood. Even though Pi’s selection of sacrifice does bear fruit and proves to be vital to his survival, it can't be so very easily colored black or white. It blurs the lines among “good” and “bad,” laying down a gray region that concludes his sacrifice to be neither singularly excellent nor bad but, rather, each.

Contrary to his religious beliefs, Pi turns a blind eye to his faith in order to survive. Born and raised a Hindu, Pi still conforms to the Hindu vegetarian values that disapprove the act of harming and eating other living animals, even after he accepts Christianity and Islam as a portion of himself. These beliefs avoid him from killing or consuming meat. On the lifeboat, however, as supplies dwindle and desperation sets in, Pi realizes that he have to kill and eat sea life in order to survive: “It was straightforward and brutal: a person can get employed to something, even killing” (185). He ultimately forgoes his Hindu values and kills a dorado when he ultimately accepts that his life is at stake. He weeps in anguish at very first, but he very easily moves past his disposition towards killing and consuming meat when it proves to be an invaluable act of survival. This keeps him alive, even at the expense of desensitizing him to violence and betraying his Hindu teachings. Even Pi himself considers his actions deplorable, but that does not keep him from repeating it. Any act of heresy is regarded as to be culturally shameful and “bad,” but Pi’s actions keeps him alive, which makes the sacrifice of religion each “good” and “bad” rather than 1 or the other. Ultimately, when killing becomes second nature to Pi and he is capable to cope by compartmentalizing survival and religion, he narrates, “I laid hands on so several fish that my body began to glitter from all the fish scales that became stuck to it. I wore these . . . like tilaks, the marks of colour that we Hindus put on on our foreheads as symbols of the divine” (196). He mentions his faiths very seldom after he begins his carnivorous diet plan, but he nevertheless ironically relates the proof of his misdoings to the tilaks of Hindus, as if to mock how far he has fallen.

Even even though Pi is prepared to look previous his religious beliefs to survive, it still tends to make him feel guilty, but that is not sufficient to make him cease. He subconsciously acknowledges this and constantly appears to feel ashamed in the back of his thoughts in spite of never ever officially confronting this conflict. Throughout the very first part of the novel, Pi tells the audience that his religious beliefs are very crucial to him, sufficient to lead to tensions within his loved ones. Even so, not even his attachment to religion lasts in the face of starvation. In fact, this is one particular of the very first things Pi overlooks, beginning with his consumption of the biscuit produced from animal fat, believing that the greater powers will overlook his act of desperation. As the novel progresses, Pi moves farther and farther away from religion until it is one particular of the final factors on his thoughts. In sacrificing his devoutness, Pi ensures that he survives starvation. However, while Pi’s survival is a excellent thing in that his life is saved, he also personally considers his actions “bad.” The reverse—Pi dying rather of betraying his religious beliefs—is also a “bad” outcome, but if he starves to death rather than consume meat or the biscuit, this can also be deemed “good” because his devoutness stays true. In 1 case, he dies simply because of staying true to his Hindu values, and in the other, he stays alive by betraying them. Death is inherently “bad,” but so is becoming a heretic hence, neither of Pi’s alternatives can be classified as wholly good or poor given that each have their vices. Eventually, either option Pi makes is topic to different views of religion and life and, depending on which side 1 favors, can be noticed as ambiguous in nature.

Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi attributes an intimate take on the necessity and dual perception of sacrifice. Throughout his journey, Pi learns that the issues he had when valued in the previous are both worthless to uphold when his life is at stake and invaluable tools for his survival when betrayed. His sacrifice takes the form of maintaining Richard Parker alive in order to satiate his loneliness and betraying his Hindu upbringing to consume meat. In each circumstances, Pi’s choice keeps him alive in mind and physique nonetheless, in maintaining Richard Parker alive, Pi lives in continuous fear and paranoia, stressed with every move the tiger makes, and consuming meat causes him to betray his beliefs, which currently have an established importance in his life. These trade-offs make his choices “bad” in that he attains deep psychological damage and turns his back on the lifestyle he lived. Even so, it is still “good” that he is eventually kept alive. By this double regular, Pi’s sacrifices and the outcomes they make augment the reality that not all sacrifices are singularly very good or undesirable but, rather, gray and subject to opinion.

Functions Cited

Martel, Yann. The Life of Pi. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2001.
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