Life of Pi – Reflection Essay

Written for my grade 11 English class.

Life Of Pi: Final Reflection

            It is known that animals and humans are very different from each other. Humans are civilized beings who are very social and have the ability to think about what they’re doing before they make a decision. Animals on the other hand act on their instinct and don’t really care about the safety of others as long as they are not harming themselves. Sometimes when a human is put in a life or death situation, they start to become more like animals because they know that they need to survive. This is shown in Yann Martel’s Life of Pi. The protagonist of the story, Piscine Molitor Patel (also known as Pi), is on a lifeboat for 227 days with a Bengal tiger, Richard Parker, along with other animals that do not last the whole trip. The zebra, the hyena, the orang-utan, and the tiger symbolize Pi in many ways, such as his personality, his mind, and his character.

            The zebra was a quiet animal. The tragic events that happened on the Tsimtsum caused the zebra to have a broken leg, therefore being unable to move. The hyena decided to eat the zebra without killing him, so for several days the zebra was alive, making occasional cries of pain. The zebra was helpless and unable to defend itself. Pi stated “I had no idea a living being could sustain so much injury and go on living” (Martel 142). The direct meaning of this quote is that Pi feels sorry for the zebra, but is amazed that he was able to alive for so long under those conditions. Symbolically, this quote also refers to Pi because he has lost everything in his life, he’s a vegetarian so he doesn’t want to eat fish, he is losing his faith in religion, and he feels helpless in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with no one but animals. The detail that was used to describe the zebra’s pain, as shown in this quote “The hyena climbed onto its haunches and started pulling out coils of intestines and other viscera” (Martel 138) allows the reader to feel the pain that the zebra is in. The suffering of the zebra can be seen as a part of Pi. Although Pi has suffered so much, he stayed quiet about it, like the zebra.

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