In the novel “Life of Pi” By Yann Martel, in order to survive his ordeal, Pi must meet his physical, emotional, and spiritual needs by focusing on each equally so he can hold onto his faith as well as keep his mind stable and his body nourished, as he is struggling for survival when stranded in the pacific ocean with a tiger.
When Pi is forced to get off the ship, he is lucky enough to have a lifeboat, which contains enough food and water to last a few months. However, since he is in the pacific for so long, and is sharing the food supplies from the lifeboat with a tiger, he becomes hungry very fast. He slowly makes a transition from a devoted vegetarian to a hunter and a carnivore to meet his physical needs as he knows he will have to eat meat in order to survive due to there being no other options available for food. Pi’s fear of dying leads to him breaking his diet and he described fear by saying, “It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life” (Martel 161). This quote shows that Pi only changed the way he eats because of survival. His fear was dying of hunger at sea. So, Pi was forced to change his diet and ate meat. “You can get used to anything – haven’t I already said that? Isn’t that what all survivors say?” (Martel 223). Pi eventually started to accept the fact that he needed to eat meat because there was no vegetation around for him, there was only meat. As a result, Pi killed a baby hawksbill turtle and drank its blood and said that “Turtles were an easy catch indeed, as the survival manual said they were (Martel 247). His determination to survive, made him go against his religious beliefs to meet his physical needs in order to survive.
Pi also faces the challenge of trying to survive while sharing the lifeboat with Richard Parker who is a tiger. After going through his options, Pi, concludes that he will have to keep the tiger alive. Pi realizes he must take care of the tiger and not become enemies with it in order to survive which is a physical need due to that fact that Pi is physically trying to stay alive and not be eaten by a tiger. All of Pi’s efforts are then focused on finding how to feed himself and Richard Parker as well. In his first step toward this goal, Pi creates a raft that separates from the lifeboat and begins to inhabit the raft. Pi even describes how “The lifeboat and the raft had already separated as far as the rope would go, about forty feet.”(Martel 154). Which leaves him out of the immediate reach of Richard Parker, assuring his safety. Pi does this to keep himself safe as he is unsure what the tiger will do to him. Pi is meeting a physical need as he is attempting to keep himself from getting physically eaten by the tiger.
While lost in the pacific Pi must not only tend to his physical needs but also his emotional needs as well. He faces several emotional obstacles that he must face in order to survive. Pi keeps a journal, in it he follows a daily schedule to maintain his sanity, humanity, and self-respect as he says that he “kept a diary…Words scratched on a page trying to capture a reality that overwhelmed me” (Martel 208). He is able to maintain his sanity which means that he is able to meet his emotional needs by writing about them while stranded at sea. He takes his writings and seals them into a glass bottle and casts it into the water. While stranded at sea, Pi knows that he must conquer his fear of Richard Parker and tame him in order to survive while on the lifeboat. He convinces himself that he “ had to tame him. It was at that moment that I realized this necessity. It was not a question of him or me, but of him and me” (Martel, 164). Emotionally, Pi meets his need which was to overcome fear of the tiger in order to survive because he realized he had no other option but to emotionally face his fear.
As Pi battles through the ordeal he must not only meet his physical and emotional needs but also his spiritual needs. Pi is able to meet his spiritual needs through his practices of all three major religions which he draws upon to pull himself through his physical, and mental suffering on the lifeboat. Pi’s commitment to the three different religions proves to be the foundation from which he draws the strength and the desire to survive his ordeal. However, maintaining his faith is not easy, Pi recalls the difficulty of loving God, “Sometimes my heart was sinking so fast with anger, desolation and weariness, I was afraid it would sink to the very bottom of the Pacific and I would not be able to life it back up. At such moments I tried to elevate myself…I thank God it always passed” (209). But faith always comes through for Pi. At moments of hopelessness, he does not give up. He chooses to have faith in God, and this faith allows him to survive. Without meeting his spiritual need to maintain his faith Pi very well may have died but him choosing to meet his spiritual need and not give up on faith is what poteitaly keeps him alive because he is able to think to himself that through meeting his physical and emotional needs, there is a light at the end of the tunnel which is why his faith is significant to his survival.
Pi is able to survive his ordeal by meeting his physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. He needed to equally meet each need as they are related and necarray for his survival. If Pi was not willing to meet one of his needs he poteinealy could have died at sea because while he must eat in order to survive physically he must have a clear mind and a sense of direction to be able to survive his ordeal.