Free Study Guide for Life of Pi by Yann Martel Book Summary|
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Pi falls to anthropomorphizing again as the whales converse about him in his imagination. It is indicative of his starving condition that Pi could, at the same time, consider the killing of whales a “heinous crime,” yet attempt to gaff a dolphin. He refers to the albatross as “supernatural” perhaps referring to Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner where the Mariner frees himself of the curse from killing the albatross when he regains his ability to pray. The birds’ ability to announce land comes from the Bible story of the great Flood when Noah sends out a dove, and the dove returns with an olive leaf indicating there is dry land.
Pi is awestruck by a spectacular lightning storm. He tries to share his wonder with Richard Parker, but the tiger is trembling with fright. Pi describes the light as overwhelming and penetrating and he is not afraid. He praises Allah (Muslim word for God) and tries to get Richard Parker to share his joy. Pi is happy.
Occurrences such as this are what keep Pi going. As he described earlier, he gleans happiness from any source he can. This is a moment of divine wonder for Pi. He praises God and is happy.
Pi sees a ship! With uncontrollable happiness Pi envisions his family safe in Canada where he will join them. He is amazed at the size of the tanker as it approaches, and then realizes in horror that it is about the hit the lifeboat. Rowing frantically, Pi maneuvers the lifeboat slightly so the tanker misses it by less than two feet. He fires a flare that hits the side of the ship. The ship passes by, noisily. Pi is unable to get anyone’s attention. Richard Parker seems to be aware that something important has happened, but is more concerned with resuming his nap. Pi bursts out with professions of love for Richard Parker, his only companion, and promises to get the tiger to land.
This is the event presaged by Pi in Chapter 69. A ship has cut into his tiny circle, but did not see him. Pi is over having to constantly assert his position as super-alpha male. He sees Richard Parker as his companion and his salvation.
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Cassie, Donna L.. "TheBestNotes on Life of Pi".
. 09 May 2017