Pi shares insight into the art and science of zookeeping. In Chapter
9 he defines the concept of flight distance - the distance an animal wants
to keep from an enemy. Flight distance can be diminished by providing
food, shelter, and a stable environment. In Chapter 10, Pi gives examples
of animals that might want to escape. Full grown animals caught in the
wild that don’t adapt, or even zoo-bred animals may in a moment of “madness”
seek escape. Pi makes it clear, however, that the animals are escaping
from something not to somewhere. Often escaped
animals are not found for some time, or even at all. In Chapter 11, Pi
tells of a black leopard that survived unnoticed in Switzerland, in the
winter, for over two months.
These three chapters detail the behaviors of animals and the connections
between humans and animals that will be a fundamental part of the story
later. He attributes uncharacteristic animal behaviors to “a measure of
madness” that moves all living things toward survival. At the end of Chapter
11, Pi is laughing about some animal that could not be found in the Mexican
jungle, but at this point, the reader does not know what he is laughing
about. It is a clue that there is more to the story.
The author observes that Pi gets distressed sometimes while telling
his story because “Richard Parker still preys on his mind,” but Pi wants
to go on. Pi cooks very spicy food each time the author visits and the
author, though he foolishly told Pi he likes spicy food, suffers.
This is another teaser to make the reader curious about the rest of the story. It is also more realism to establish credibility.
Cite this page:
Cassie, Donna L.. "TheBestNotes on Life of Pi".
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