Literature Study GuidesLife Of PiPart 2 Chapters 61 62 Summary

Life of Pi | Study Guide

Yann Martel

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Life of Pi | Part 2, Chapters 61–62 : The Pacific Ocean | Summary

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Summary

Part 2, Chapter 61

The next day Pi attempts to fish, using his shoe as bait. The attempt doesn't go well. He tries and fails to catch a sea turtle. Knowing he must feed and give water to Richard Parker if he wants to survive himself, Pi panics. As he searches for bait in the locker, he is struck in the face; at first he believes he has been attacked by Richard Parker but then discovers he has been hit by a flying fish. Pi throws it to Richard Parker hoping to tame him with rewards, but the flying fish swerves away from the tiger and back into the ocean. Fortunately, a school of flying fish, chased by dorados, strikes the ship. Richard Parker eats his fill.

Some fish land in the locker, and Pi takes one to kill it for bait. A lifelong vegetarian, Pi has never killed a living thing before. The process is wrenching and emotional. Pi mentions he still prays for the fish regularly. Later in the night Pi tries fishing again and catches a dorado. His second kill is less of a challenge, and he reflects "a person can get used to anything, even to killing." After throwing the dorado in front of the surprised Richard Parker, Pi falls asleep satisfied.

Part 2, Chapter 62

Pi wakes, restlessly, to another hot day. He realizes both he and Richard Parker urgently need fresh water. He checks the solar stills, which have filled with water, and tends them carefully so they will produce more. As Pi tosses fish to Richard Parker, he thinks the lifeboat resembles a zoo enclosure with specific territories. He estimates he's spent a week at sea since the Tsimtsum sank.

Analysis

Pi's vegetarianism is mentioned several times in the story, by Pi himself and the visiting writer. His belief in animals' souls is a significant part of his life. But he has a greater responsibility than keeping fish alive. He is responsible for Richard Parker's well-being. This task gives him courage, and he takes it seriously. And miracles keep happening to help him, showing the universe may be on his side. The school of flying fish hits just when Pi needs fish to feed Richard Parker. When he says, "at the heart of life is a fuse box," he references another psychological idea that helped him survive: pain has limits, and suffering is temporary.

Part 2, Chapter 62 is the last chapter in "The Pacific Ocean" to mark time. Pi narrates each day and night of his first week at sea when he's getting his bearings and adjusting to his new life. Then he loses track of time altogether. He is transitioning from time in the human world to time in the ocean world, from the finite to the infinite. Will he be able to maintain his humanity in this new world?

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