Short Essay Questions
By Marcus Mooney
In the book, The Life of Pi the five sections in the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs; Physiological; Safety; Love/ Belonging; Esteem; and Self-actualization are demonstrated.
Once Pi is on the lifeboat, his main focus is food and water, as he needs both of these to survive. He is in the physiological stage. He has to ignore his morals because according to the hierarchy, a person cannot focus on a higher level before the one before it is achieved, and at this point, Pi will die if he does not eat and drink. He is forced to go against his religious belief and eat meat in order to survive. His belief becomes secondary at this point because he has to satisfy his …show more content…
Were my physical needs not met? Was there not more fresh water than I could drink in all my lifetime? More algae than I could eat?” (310). At night Pi discovers that the island turns into a hell. The algae turn from edible in the day, to man-eating at night. Pi states, “I looked around at the algae. Bitterness welled up in me. The radiant promise it offered during the day was replaced in my heart by all the treachery delivered at night.” (313).
Pi tames Richard Parker on the island. He literally trains him to jump through hoops. Once Pi has learned to control Richard Parker, he feels that he no longer needs the island. He says, “By the time morning came, my grim decision was taken. I preferred to set off and perish in search of my own kind than to live a lonely half-life of spiritual comfort and spiritual death on this murderous island. (313).
The food and drink that Pi ingested at the algae island represented a spiritual death for Pi. Martel includes this symbol of the island in his novel because he is trying to tell the reader that when people focus on their physical needs such as Pi did, they forget about their spiritual needs. In other words, he is saying if people’s faith is too easy, they are no longer experiencing real faith. They need to suffer in order to be pushed into exploring their spiritual side.
In the book, Life of Pi, Pi practices Christianity, Hinduism and Islam. Pi can transcend the