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Foreshadowing is used extensively. The reader does not know much of the fantastic story to come, nor who Richard Parker is, but it becomes clear that animals, survival, and freedom will all be important in the tale. Pi argues against the belief that zoo animals are unhappy because they are not free, explaining that freedom in the wild, where one must always fight to survive, is a myth. This assertion foreshadows Pi's own later loss of freedom while at sea, and the ways that the fight to survive diminish his humanity. What are you referring to by name change? Check out the link on water below.