American psychologist, Abraham Maslow, proposed the idea of a hierarchy of five basic human needs. This theory states that physiological needs has initial priority in developing a healthy psyche; however Pi struggled satisfy this essential need. Throughout the novel, Pi found himself searching for methods to attain this physiological need for food, fresh water, and shelter. In the early days of his journey, Pi initially survived off of the 31 cartons of food rations found in the lifeboat, but they depleted quickly. Being surrounded by the vast ocean, where life is abundant, catching food still pronounced itself as a difficult task. Pi’s unfaltering will to live pushed him to find alternative food choices, from small fish to tiger excrement. The effect of the extreme drive to survive is reflected through Pi’s desperation when he describes catching Richard Parkers dung. “It fell into my cup with a clink, and no doubt I will be considered to have abandoned the last vestiges of humanness by those who do not understand the degree of my suffering when I say that it sounded like the music of a five-rupee coin dropped into a beggar’s cup (Martel 237). Along with nutritious food, Pi found acquiring fresh water to be similarly difficult. The irony of being surrounded by ocean water did not help him from fulfilling the basic need of quenching his thirst. The dire desire to drink led Pi to venture into Richard Parker’s den, what was originally unthinkable. “I pushed aside all thoughts of Richard Parker and fearlessly went exploring for fresh water” (Martel 150) The insanity of willing entering a tiger’s den is also found in Pi’s search for the basic need of shelter. The makeshift raft that Patel had constructed proved to be insufficient as he developed rashes from the constant exposure to the salt water. Pi knew he had to find an alternative, and knew that the boat was the answer. Pi needed Richard Parker, so he decided that if he was going to live, it would be with the tiger, not beside him. The desire for proper accommodations resulted in Pi’s ludicrous act of taming the Royal Bengal Tiger. Pi devised a training plan, which resulted in a territorial agreement. Obtaining the material necessities to live were not the only requirements that Pi had to acquire to survive.


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