Free Study Guide for Life of Pi by Yann Martel Book Summary

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CHAPTER SUMMARIES AND NOTES


CHAPTER 53


Summary

Pi ponders his impossible situation, certain death if he stays on the lifeboat with Richard Parker or certain death if he casts himself to the sea. With nothing else to occupy his mind, he anguishes over all he has lost. He is ready to give up, but an internal voice encourages him in the form of a prayer, ďso long as God is with me, I will not die. Amen.Ē He builds a raft by weaving life jackets and ropes onto a framework made of the buoyant oars. He lashes the lifebuoy to the center and tethers the raft to the front of the boat. The hyena is shrieking and Pi prays to be given enough time to finish.

Pi is riveted with fear as he watches Richard Parker rise to his full magnitude. The tiger kills the terrified hyena silently. Standing over his kill, he moans, uneasy with the rocking of the lifeboat. He turns to face Pi. Even petrified with fear, Pi is awestruck at the majesty and beauty of Richard Parker. Suddenly, a rat appears from under the tarpaulin and clambers atop Piís head. Richard Parker makes for the rat, but hesitates because of the rocking of the boat and the unstable footing of the tarpaulin. Quickly, Pi throws the rat to the tiger and the rat disappears into Richard Parkerís mouth. The animal seems satisfied and returns to his den under the tarpaulin, dragging the hyena with him. As he is eating, Pi notices there is vomit in the den which confirms that Richard Parker is seasick.

Pi hurriedly completes his raft, tests it for buoyancy, and climbs uneasily aboard. The raft is a precarious means of survival so Pi pills himself back toward the lifeboat. He hears Richard Parker eating and opts for the seemingly less threatening sea and sharks.

A cold rain falls. Pi once again pulls himself toward the lifeboat to retrieve a rain catcher from the survival locker. The noise alerts Richard Parker and, rain catcher in hand, Pi lets out the rope in terror as night falls.

Notes

Piís faith has inspired his will to live. His knowledge gives him the means to survive. He knows, however, that existence on the raft is a temporary solution. This chapter graphically demonstrates that although the tiger has a human name, it is indeed a formidable animal.


CHAPTER 54


Summary

Pi spends the night cold, wet, and without sleep. The rain intensifies as do the waves. Pi is afraid the raft may break free from the boat and realizes that he must come up with a more workable plan of survival. He concocts five plans. Each he immediately sees is impossible. Plan Number Six: Wage a War of Attrition seems, at first, a good idea. Richard Parker has no means of acquiring food or water. Pi can at least get fresh water and possibly out survive the tiger.

Notes

Pi is desperate. The construction of the raft is a step in the right direction, but he knows it is not the answer for the long term. Plan Six seems workable, but remember Piís comment from Chapter 47 about the inconceivable endurance of an animal.


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