HomeLiterature Study GuidesLife Of PiPart 2 Chapters 4345 Summary

Life of Pi | Study Guide

Yann Martel

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Life of Pi | Part 2, Chapters 43–45 : The Pacific Ocean | Summary

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Summary

Part 2, Chapter 43

Seeing a patch of oil from the ship, Pi thinks some official must have been notified of the shipwreck and will be coming to save him. His family, too, must be alive. But the animals with him aren't doing so well. Orange Juice is ill and in shock. The hyena leaps menacingly above the tarpaulin and screams, running in circles. Pi assesses the threats to his own existence. Orange Juice won't threaten him, but the unpredictable hyena might. The zebra simply lies in silence.

Part 2, Chapter 44

Pi passes a day and a night on the lifeboat. He is surrounded by flies and growing more anxious. When darkness falls, it obscures his vision. He lies awake all night, fearing for his life.

Part 2, Chapter 45

As day breaks Pi is cold but hopeful of rescue. He imagines the reunion with his family but is interrupted by a horrible sight. The hyena is eating the zebra's broken leg. Queasy from seasickness, Pi notices Orange Juice also exhibiting humanlike seasickness symptoms. He considers the bizarre ecosystem of animals on the lifeboat. A sea turtle butts up against the boat, and Pi tells it to go tell a ship where he is.

Analysis

Despite Pi's humility, he is still convinced he can find hope in the world of human beings. Pi's rescue fantasies show how certain he is of his place in the universe and how important he feels. He imagines pilots, ship's officers, and submarines working themselves into a frenzy over the Tsimtsum's disappearance. In time he will realize the insignificance of his life and suffering.

Pi is selfish, too, defending his life, however small it is. Although he loves the orangutan and is sympathetic to the zebra, he hopes they will distract the hyena from him and die first. Readers are getting to know the animals as characters through the descriptions of their repetitive patterns and physical appearances. Pi, who has a refined aesthetic sense and loves beauty, associates the hyena's cowardliness with its physical ugliness.

In the lifeboat Pi will develop new dimensions to his senses. He'll see, hear, and experience things he's never encountered before, like "floating in pure, abstract blackness." He appreciates forms of life he doesn't usually notice except as a nuisance—flies in Part 2, Chapter 44, spiders in the previous chapters. Pi imagines what the flies' lives are like, how they faced their deaths or died of old age. He imagines the "battle for life" sea animals fight below the tarpaulin.

With daybreak Pi finds "the calm sea opened up around me like a great book"—a story yet to be told and an adventure. He sees the sun as "electrically lit orange," the color of life. He's touched and baffled by Orange Juice's resemblance to a human. Pi is truly in a world he doesn't recognize.

Why hasn't the hyena eaten Orange Juice yet? The details defy even Pi's own open-minded beliefs. "Nature forever holds surprises," he thinks. The predator-prey relationship seems to be suspended. Pi hopes this will bode well for him.

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