Life of Pi

If each character in Pi’s two stories are paralleled, Orange Juice to Pi’s mother, the hyena to the cook, the sailor to the zebra, and Pi to Richard Parker, what does the Pi in the first story represent?

Life of Pi

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While Richard Parker in the first story is paralleled to Pi, it can be said that he is paralleled to Pi’s survival instinct, while the Pi in the first story represents Pi’s spirituality and morality. In this way, Pi’s spirituality is able, with much hard work, to exert some control over his survival instinct—at least enough to remain in existence, even when not in control—while the survival instinct remains powerful and dangerous. Pi says that he would not have survived without Richard Parker, and this too is true in the parallel, for Pi’s spirituality and morality needed Pi’s survival instinct to keep his body alive, so that his spirituality could exist as well.


Life of Pi: Major themes