What a wonderful story. It’s not what I expected but I found it quite enjoyable.
It begins slower than I would have liked, we are introduced to Pi’s childhood in what seems to be a rather lazy and unhurried fashion. Stick with it. The story picks up with ferocious speed once you hit part two. The slow information about Pi’s childhood will become apparent soon.
Here’s some info I found after having read Life of Pi: Quoted from Wikipedia:
A Bengal tiger
Main article: Richard Parker (shipwrecked)
Richard Parker is a tiger that is stranded on the lifeboat with Pi when the ship sinks. The tiger lives on the lifeboat with Pi and is kept alive with the food and water Pi delivers. Richard Parker develops a relationship with Pi that allows them to coexist in their struggle.
In the novel, a hunter who captured a tiger was named Richard Parker. He intended to name the tiger Thirsty, because of the tiger's long time drinking when he was found. In confusion when it was time for Richard Parker to catch a train ride to find Thirsty a home, the woman at the ticket counter thought the tiger's name was Richard Parker, and the hunter's name was Thirsty, with his last name being "None Given." Pi and his father found the story so amusing, they kept the name for the tiger, who lived at the zoo.
Martel named the tiger after a character from Edgar Allan Poe's nautical adventure novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1838). He knew of men named Richard Parker, including two associated with tales of shipwreck and cannibalism by sailors. Such tales were not uncommon in the 18th and 19th centuries. Examples include the following:
In December 1835, the ship Francis Spaight was wrecked in the north Atlantic. Survivors of the wreck were known to have practiced cannibalism in order to survive.
In January 1846, a second ship named "Francis Spaight" sank, and took a man named Richard Parker down with it.
In 1884, 46 years after Poe's novel was published, a shipwreck occurred with circumstances that were similar to those in his book. After the sinking of their yacht Mignonette on the way to Australia, Captain Tom Dudley and three sailors were stranded in a dinghy in the Pacific Ocean. They believed they had no choice but to eat one of the party to survive. The victim was a 17-year-old cabin boy named Richard Parker.
A.W. Brian Simpson's book on the subject mentions the Francis Spaight and also refers to a boat called Tiger, on which a youth was cannibalized in 1766.
Having read about these events, Yann Martel thought, "So many victimized Richard Parkers had to mean something."
For those of you who have read the tale, which story do you think is the truth? I think you will find that the answer may define you as a person…