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Richard Parker in Life of Pi

            In the novel "Life of PI" by Yann Martel published in 2001, Pi learns to survive in unbelievable circumstances all thanks to a bengal tiger named Richard Parker. In the book the main character "Pi" loses his family members to a ship sink, where he was the only survivor. Next, he is on a lifeboat with 4 animals that were part of his family owned zoo. Pi must always be on his toes, collecting water, fishing, and maintaining his life raft for his own survival and to keep Richard Parker happy. Pi keeps Richard Parker happy because if he does not, he believes that Richard will eat him, which means that keeping the supply of food and water is crucial to both of them. Since Pi is Richard Parkers' only caretaker it gave him another reason to survive. He kept his day organized and used his time wisely to make sure that he didn't waste anything that was given or provided for him. Tigers are thought to symbolize aggression, and although they symbolize willpower, they also represent courage and strength. Richard Parker kept him company, kept him aware and forced him to structure his day, which ensured his survival and really kept him from losing his mind.
             After seeing a bengal tiger, much like Richard parker, brutally kill and eat an innocent goat, this gives Pi a solid impression of just how aggressive tigers are. Pi says, "Life goes on and you don't touch tigers" (Martel p.25). This is why he was so afraid of Richard Parker when he was in the lifeboat with him. From past experiences with tigers, Pi knew that he had to stay alert and awake from fear and uncertainty. This keeps him alive because if it weren't for Richard Parker, Pi would have an easy leeway to give up on life. It was almost like a goal to survive for him now. The fact that there was a bengal tiger on the lifeboat made him even more fearful yet determined at the same time. Specifically it kept him on his toes and always focused because the fear he has for Richard Parker attacking him prevented him from going psychotic.

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