Life of Pi Essay

1626 WordsDec 16, 20127 Pages
The Morals of Survival The human instinct for self-preservation is powerful. The instinct and responsibility of all humans is to thrive through desperate and dire situations at all costs. One’s behavior in these crucial situations would flow from their desires and needs and their emotions and psychological state of mind. A concern is raised when we try to find a positive correlation between following one’s moral compass and the success of survival; which there is none. If one does not succumb to their survival instincts – that kick in to aid in an unfamiliar situation – you cannot survive. In Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, Pi Patel is faced with despairing hardship when the ship he has boarded sinks and he is led astray on a lifeboat with four wild animals along with him. Furthermore, Pi faces the issue of morality versus survival which is especially difficult for him because of his religious nature, the usage of Richard Parker as an emotional and psychological crutch to get through this chaotic circumstance and also, the constant fixation on food and the lack of it. Being lost at sea gives the story a perspective very different from the normal life of Pi Patel. Pi’s will to survive coordinates with his loss of spiritual purity – though those acts of survival are needed for Pi to thrive, in which societal norms of behavior are irrelevant when ones sole priority is to survive in a circumstance that is nearly impossible to overcome. Morality and survival do not go hand and hand in dire circumstances. In order to survive, you must lose your morality and do things to survive that are far from your usual behavior. In Pi’s case he was forced to eat feces and walk around naked to accommodate himself in these severe surroundings. “All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in a strange, sometimes inexplicable ways. This madness can be saving; it is part

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