Man Vs Nature In Yann Martel's Life Of Pi

867 words - 4 pages

Author Nancy Wynne Newhall once wrote “The Wilderness holds answers to more questions than we have yet learned to ask.” To man, nature can be manipulated and overrun easily but it is not easily destroyed permanently. In Life of Pi by Yann Martel, Pi convinces himself he has altered the beastly nature of his tiger companion, Richard Parker, however, he fails to realize this as a misconception until the certain events with Richard Parker that ultimately revealing that the savage nature within wild animals cannot be tamed.
To overcome his constant fear of Richard Parker, Pi devises a system in an attempt to tame the wild beast. Pi realizes the tiger is important to keep around but he is frightened by his presence and killer instincts. His solution to the problem at hand is “to tame [Richard Parker]…not [wanting] him to die” (Martel 164). After much work, Pi finally believes he has connected with Richard Parker enough for him to understand his role in their relationship. A key method Pi uses to train the tiger is “blowing [his] whistle full blast…shattering the animal’s ears with piercing blows” (Martel 204-5). Pi tortures the animal into behaving more civilized. He believes that he has the ability to tame Richard Parker. Gregory Stephens makes the point that when humans “cannot fully master them, then we confine animals within controlled spaces to give us the illusion of control: zoos or wildlife preserves” which is true because humans feel threatened without control over the animal. Out of fear and pain, Richard Parker temporarily behaves and becomes less of a threat for the time being. What Pi fails to recognize is that the affect he has on Richard Parker is only situational. He believes that after practicing this routine a few times the “use of the whistle should be sparing” (Martel 205). Pi feels accomplished after seeing his desired results carried out from the tiger. His first initial thought is that he has somehow made a breakthrough with Richard Parker and can now better connect with him and form a mutual relationship. Suddenly, “the biological imperative becomes infused with a divine imperative” due to this routine “of control and even limited domination” and Pi gains secure feelings of dominance over Richard Parker (Stephens). Being more comfortable around such a beast, however, later proves to be a fault of Pi’s. The unpredictable behavior of such a wild animal causes a huge threat to Pi. Richard Parker exemplifies this wild behavior by “bursting over the ridge at full gallop…coming [Pi’s] way high speed”...

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