The effects that survival had on Pi Patel were equally emotional as they were physical. After the sinking of the Tsimtsum, Pi’s emotional state was on a steady decline as he battled death during the 227 days on the water. Losing his father and brother in the sinking, and later his mother, who was portrayed as Orange Juice, left Pi crushed. The depression of losing your family is immense and rightfully so, especially for young Pi. His pain is expressed through “To lose a brother is to lose someone with whom you can share the experience of growing old, who is supposed to bring you a sister-in-law and nieces and nephews, creatures who people the tree of your life and give it new branches. To lose your father is to lose the one whose guidance and help you seek, who supports you like a tree trunk supports its branches. To lose your mother, well, that is like losing the sun above you…I lay down on the tarpaulin and spent the whole night weeping and grieving” (Martel 141) Pi knew that his sadness would devour him, so his mourning was short lived as he turned his attention to Richard Parker. Keeping his mind occupied with the needs and concerns of having a tiger in the lifeboat was what lead Pi from depression and to survival. Pi’s perseverance to endure is also seen through his ability to combat loneliness. Again, Pi found purpose in Richard Parker. According to magazine Psychology Today, loneliness can have severe effects on people. “Evidence has been growing that when our need for social relationships is not met, we fall apart mentally and even physically”. In the Pacific Ocean, thousands of kilometers from another human, it was a tiger that kept Pi alive. “a part of me was glad about Richard Parker. A part of me did not want him to die at all, because if he died I would be left alone with despair, a foe even more formidable than a tiger” (Martel 182). The will to live has one of the strongest effects against Pi’s depression and loneliness, but it is not challenged any greater than by fear. Pi describes this feeling as “life’s only opponent. Only fear can defeat life” (Martel 178). The fear that Pi’s father seeded into his brain at a young age was what had combated Piscine’s life. His will to live overcame this foe, evident in his trials to train Richard Parker, “My panic was gone. My fear was dominated. Survival was at hand” (Martel 182). This mentality was what kept Pi alive during his journey on the open ocean.


Work Cited

Marano, Hara. “The Dangers of Loneliness”. Psychology Today. 1 July 2003. Web. <> 25 July 2015.


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