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The Life of Pi by Yann Martel This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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What do you do when you are on a lifeboat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with nothing but a few medical supplies, a tiger, hyena, zebra, and orangutan? Ask Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi), who battled the elements and survived 227 days with Richard Parker, the tiger, and did so safely. The zebra, hyena, and orangutan were all killed, and Pi could have been next in line. Was it the supplies that saved him? The turtles he caught? The birds he snatched? No, I would wager that it was his will power and his motivation to stay alive. Because he wanted to live; he did.
Pi’s parents owned a zoo in east India. When a zoo in Canada gave an offer for the animals, the Patels pack up and leave India. After the ship he was sailing on with his family and the animals that they were transporting sinks, Pi finds himself on a lifeboat out at sea with a fearsome Bengal tiger, hyena, zebra, and orangutan. When the hyena, zebra, and orangutan have been murdered, Pi must cope with the tiger and make peace. He could have been easily killed, but his will to survive kept him alive. He manages to tame the tiger with the waves and currents of the ocean, making the poor tiger nauseous. He asserts his dominance as he battles the elements and stands his ground to overcome life’s difficulties.
How do you run inside your house and shut the door to keep the tigers out if you are in the middle of the ocean? On the reverse, if Pi tried to swim away from the lifeboat, he would find himself in even more trouble than before. He could have been killed by sharks, dehydrated, or drowned. This is what Pi must have been thinking and must have persuaded him to continue staying on the boat and tame the tiger. He even killed and ate a fish, which was against his religion. He stayed patient, strong willed, and never gave up and went crazy like others in hopeless. “If I could just make it to land and get away from this ferocious tiger, I will be safe,” he must have thought. Without hope, Pi would have succumbed to the grasps of death.
As well as physical survival, Pi also succeeded in mental survival. At the end of his journey, the Japanese agents in charge of the sunken ship don’t believe his story. Pi tells another story which was more believable but more emotional. One was with him fighting all odds to outlive a vicious tiger. The other one was created because the agents didn’t believe Pi, who states in real life that the zebra was a sailor, Pi himself was the tiger, the orangutan is his mother, and the hyena is a cook who killed Pi's mother and cut up and ate the sailor. In my opinion, he told the animal story because the human story happened in real life and was too hard on him to comprehend. So, he introduces animals, whose natural instinct is to kill. Note that when he is telling the human story, he is very emotional, pausing to take in what had happened, which was something we never saw during his sea voyage except for a thought of his family now and then.
Pi Patel survived 227 days with a ferocious tiger and hundreds of miles of ocean surrounding him, so he must have done something right. He had hope and the will to survive, and that has made all the difference. He told stories to ease the pain of losing his family. Because he wanted to live, he succeeded. Pi managed to find his way to Mexico and started a new life in western Canada. If you put your mind to something, you will achieve, no matter how big the cause, even if it is outsmarting a 450-pound Bengal tiger.



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stars said...
Jan. 27, 2011 at 7:44 am
Wonderful writing! This a a great book and your review is awesome. The life lessons to be learned from this book are many. Good job!
 
hgundala said...
Jan. 26, 2011 at 7:04 pm
nice job they are smart
 
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