Primacy Of Survival In Life Of Pi Essay Example For College

The idea of the primacy of survival, or the desperate need to survive at all costs, is depicted in Yann Martel’s Life of Pi through the character Pi and his unwavering determination and bravery. Pi, a Hindu boy, is on a voyage to Canada with his family and their zoo animals. However, their journey takes a disastrous turn when their boat sinks in the Pacific Ocean, leaving Pi stranded on a lifeboat.

However, Pi is not alone on the raft; in his presence are a zebra, orangutan, hyena, and a fearsome Bengal tiger. Pi realizes that he cannot give up on his life after understanding what happened. The desire to survive is demonstrated by analyzing the innate danger posed by animals, the cruel actions humans are willing to take for survival, and the loss of moral values when threatened. In Pi’s early life, his father teaches him that all animals are inherently dangerous.

Pi’s father, the owner of a zoo in India, cautions Pi about getting too comfortable around the zoo animals, as they could harm him if they feel threatened. Pi’s father emphasizes the concept that “Life will defend itself no matter how small it is. Every animal is ferocious and dangerous” (Martel, 41), highlighting the importance for Pi to recognize that seemingly harmless animals can turn vicious due to their innate instincts.

Despite Pi’s father explaining the consequences to him, Pi remains unconvinced about the dangers of becoming too comfortable with the animals. To prove his point, Pi’s father takes Pi and his brother to the zoo’s big cats section. There, they encounter Mahisha, a massive 550 pound female Bengal tiger, known as the king of the jungle. Pi’s father reveals that Mahisha has not eaten for two days and declares, “I want you to remember this lesson for the rest of your lives.” He then throws a live goat into the tiger’s cage (Martel, 47).

Mahisha, in a sudden display of agility and strength, swiftly obliterated the goat with one powerful strike. The goat’s demise resulted in blood splattering, causing Pi and his brother Ravi to be overcome with disgust and shock at the harrowing sound. Pi himself exemplifies his father’s belief that “Life will defend itself no matter how small it is.” (Martel, 41). As a frail Hindu youth, Pi finds himself alone on a lifeboat with a hyena, orangutan, zebra, and tiger, devoid of any means to defend himself. Throughout his perilous journey, the constant presence of death never eludes his awareness. Despite the imminent danger, Pi remarkably succeeds in safeguarding his own existence.

In certain situations, the primacy of survival can create a strong urge to do anything to stay alive, both for animals and humans. This drive to survive can lead to cruel and unimaginable actions. Pi faces this cruelty when the boat he is on with his family starts sinking, and crew members throw Pi onto a lifeboat. Initially, Pi is grateful for their help, thinking that being on the lifeboat would keep him safe. However, he soon realizes that he is not alone on the lifeboat.

An adult hyena that had escaped its cage ended up on the same lifeboat as Pi. Pi soon realizes that the crew members did not place him on the lifeboat to save him, but rather as a means of attracting the hyena. Pi is shocked and exclaims, “They were using me as fodder. They hoped the hyena would attack me and that somehow I would get rid of it and make the boat safe for them” (Martel, 121). This demonstrates the extreme measures that humans are willing to take in order to survive, including resorting to human sacrifice. Later in Pi’s journey, he unexpectedly encounters another lone survivor on a different lifeboat.

During this stage of Pi’s journey, his body is extremely dehydrated and starting to deteriorate, resulting in his loss of vision. The other man on the raft is also blind. However, when Pi engages in conversation with him, he recognizes the man’s French accent. Similar to Pi, the man has also been without food for several days and is famished. In a desperate bid for survival, the man tries to attack and kill Pi in order to feed himself. Pi is convinced that his life is about to end, as he senses the man moving towards him and even placing his foot on the boat’s floor. In a panic, Pi pleads, ‘No, no, my brother! Don’t!’

“We’re not-‘ ” (Martel, 283). Just before the man tries to attack Pi, Richard Parker, the strong but weakened Bengal tiger on Pi’s lifeboat, attacks and kills the man. Without Richard Parker’s intervention, the man would have undoubtedly killed and eaten Pi in order to ensure his own survival. It is sickening and cruel to kill someone of the same species, but to do so for the purpose of eating them is completely insane; something only an animal would do. The truth is that “We’re animals. We’re born like every other mammal and we live our whole lives with disguised animal thoughts.” (Morace, 1).

Humans, although they are essentially animals, will go to any lengths to stay alive when faced with the prospect of death. Not only are humans capable of unimaginable acts in order to survive, but their morals also become insignificant in the face of a desperate craving for self-preservation. Pi, the protagonist, witnesses this firsthand when a zebra is attacked and injured by a hyena on the lifeboat. Initially horrified, Pi soon realizes that his empathy is overshadowed by a relentless fear for his own life: “When your own life is at risk, your ability to empathize diminishes as a result of an overwhelming selfish instinct for survival.” (Martel, 133).

Human instinct is a natural phenomenon that arises effortlessly within us. Later, Pi starts to feel regret for the zebra, which contrasts with his initial reaction. However, his natural instincts potentially saved his life as he chose to hide when the hyena attacked instead of witnessing and mourning the zebra. Pi even understood that this occurrence was normal and possibly beneficial for his survival. Prior to embarking on his journey across the Pacific, he gained knowledge about this inherent instinct for survival. It is said that “All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways. This madness can be saving; it’s part and parcel of the ability to adapt.”

According to Martel (45), every species relies on instinct for survival. However, there is a misconception that humans are exempt from this natural tendency when they feel threatened. Nevertheless, Dominic (143) argues that society is the force that inhibits our animalistic instincts. Without the societal structures that sustain us, we naturally revert to a primitive state guided solely by basic instincts. When Pi separates himself from society entirely, he adopts an animal-like demeanor driven by instinct and focused solely on necessities for survival. Pi’s instinctual nature enables him to endure and prevail.

Despite appearances, Pi does not just witness acts of human cruelty and loss of morals; he also suffers from the loss of morals and engages in extreme cruelty himself. From his earliest memories, Pi adhered to a strict vegetarian lifestyle. However, when he becomes stranded on a life raft, he realizes he must abandon his old habits and consume meat to survive. Pi quickly discovers that he cannot be selective about the food available to him. Faced with severe hunger, he resorts to eating raw fish eyes and turtle blood. Pi even confesses, “I attempted to consume Richard Parker’s feces.”

“(Martel, 237). He immediately discovers that tiger feces is not appropriate for human consumption and never tries to eat it again. Despite the disgusting nature of his action, he had limited alternatives. Following these incidents, it is mentioned that “Pi also starts to acknowledge, much to his dismay, that his own actions are becoming more akin to those of an animal” (Dominic, 143). When Pi finally realizes that he is merely surviving based on his instincts, he surprisingly finds contentment within himself.

Although Pi is on the verge of death, he resorts to a highly questionable action in order to stay alive. It is hard to imagine anything worse that Pi could have done during his journey, yet he engages in cannibalism. When Richard Parker kills the man Pi encounters at sea, Pi actually consumes some of the man’s raw flesh. Pi admits, “Driven by the extremity of my need and the madness to which it pushed me, I ate some of his flesh.” (Martel, 284). Having gone without food for almost 12 days, he even says that “they slipped into my mouth nearly unnoticed.” (Martel, 284).

In numerous instances of Pi’s journey, the primacy of survival is thoroughly expressed. This cruel, sickening, and unacceptable act demonstrates our unwavering determination to do anything and everything in our power to survive. What better exemplifies the will to survive than a teenage boy alone on a lifeboat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? However, this survival story becomes even more remarkable when a giant Bengal tiger is also onboard. Pi’s journey becomes the ultimate tale of survival as he confronts hunger, thirst, and death while sharing his space with the king of the jungle.

During his journey, Pi acquired knowledge about the inherent danger of animals, the capacity for cruelty within humans, and the erosion of morals under threat. There may be those who argue that Pi’s actions to ensure survival were morally reprehensible and cannot be condoned. Nevertheless, Pi managed to endure an unprecedented 227 days on the treacherous Pacific Ocean before his expedition reached its conclusion. From Pondicherry, India, to Tomatlan, Mexico, Pi had to carry out numerous unpleasant tasks that underscored the importance of survival instincts in animals.

Rizal Life And Works


Rizal left Europe for Hong Kong, where he lived from November 1891 to June 1892. His reasons for leaving Europe were: life was unbearable in Europe because of his political differences with M.H. del Pilar and other Filipinos in Spain. to be near his idolized Philippines and family.


Rizal left Ghent for Paris on October 3, 1891

He proceeded by train to Marseilles and on October 18, he boarded the steamer Melbourne bound for Hong Kong. He brought with him a letter of recommendation by Juan Luna for Manuel Camus, a compatriot living in Singapore, and 600 copies of the Fili Manuel Camus

-During that time, he was a student and was made as a mason on October 12, 1898 at Zetland in the East Lodge No 508 in Singapore under the jurisdiction of the M. W. Grand Lodge of England. He then became a Senator of the Philippines on his later years. There were over 80 first class passengers – mostly Europeans, including 2 Spaniards He befriended many missionaries and one of them is Fr. Fuchs, a Tyrolese, which he enjoyed playing chess with. He even wrote to Blumentritt saying: “..He is a fine fellow, a Father Damaso without pride and malice..” RIZAL AND THE GERMAN LADIES

“One evening at a dinner time the passengers were having their meal in the dining room. Rizal; being the only Asian, was eating alone at one table. Near him was a bigger table occupied by some German ladies who were gaily eating and gossiping about the lone Asian male who was quietly taking his meal. Rizal, who was fluent in German, understood what the talkative German ladies were saying about him, but he simply kept silent, letting the ladies enjoy their gossip. Suddenly the fast running steamer encountered a heavy

squall and the door of the dining room was blown open. Nobody among the passengers who were busy eating stood up to close the door. A lady said to her companions in German : “If this man in front of us were a gentleman he would close the door”. Upon hearing her remark, Rizal, without saying a word, rose and closed the door, after which he resumed his seat. He then conversed with German ladies in perfect German. Of course, the German ladies were very much embarrassed, and, thereafter they treated Rizal with admiration and respect, despite his brown skin, for he was a cultured gentleman.” ARRIVED IN HONG KONG

November 20, 1891 – Rizal arrived in Hong Kong

He was welcomed by the Filipino residents, especially his old friend, Jose Ma. Basa. He then established his residence at No. 5 D’ Aguilar Street, No. 2 Rednaxola Terrace, where he also opened his medical clinic. December 1, 1891 – he wrote his parents asking their permission to return home. On the same date, his brother-in-law, Manuel T. Hidalgo, sent him a letter, relating the sad news of the “deportation of twenty-five persons from Calamba, including father, Neneng, Sisa, Lucia, Paciano, and the rest of us.” Also stated in his letter that he was preparing a letter to the Queen Regent of Spain explaining the Calamba situation in order to secure justice. Even saying such as : “If the Queen will not listen, we will write to Queen Victoria of England appealing for protection in the name of humanity…” FAMILY REUNION IN HONG KONG

Before Christmas of 1891, he was gladdened by the arrival of his father, brother and Silvestre Ubaldo (his brother-in-law) in Hong Kong. Not long afterwards his mother and sisters Lucia, Josefa , and Trinidad also arrived. January 31, 1892 – he wrote to Blumentritt recounting their pleasant life in Hong Kong, as follows: “Here we are all living together, my parents, sisters, and brother in peace and far from persecutions they suffered in the Philippines. They are very much pleased with the English government.” OPHTHALMIC SURGEON IN HONG KONG

Dr. Lorenzo P. Marques – a friend and admirer who helped him to build up a wide clientele. He successfully operated on his mother’s left eye so that she was able to read and write again. January 31, 1892 – writing to Blumentritt, he said :

“Here I practise as a doctor and I have . . . Here many sick of influenza because there is an epidemic. Through the newspaper I am informed that this sickness is also causing ravages in Europe. I hope you and your esteemed family will be spared. In our house, my mother, my brother-in-law, and one of my sister are sick. Thank God, they are out of danger.” Rizal was given moral support and substantial aid in his medical practice in Hong Kong from some of his friends in Europe. Mr. Boustead (the father of Nelly Bousted)

– wrote to him on March 21, 1892, praising him for his medical profession Dr. Ariston Bautista Lin – sent him a congratulatory letter and a book on Diagnostic Pathology by Dr. H. Virchow and another medical book entitled Traite Diagnostique by Mesnichock. Don Antonio Vergel de Dios

– offered him his services for the purchase of medical books and instruments which he might need in his profession. Rizal possessed the qualities of a great ophthalmic surgeon. In the words of Dr. Geminiano de Ocampo, a distinguished Filipino ophthalmologist: “He had all the qualities that would make an ideal ophthalmic surgeon – a keen and analytical intellect, lightness of touch and artistry of a painter, courage and imperturbability, a broad and deep knowledge of medicine and ophthalmology, and last but not the least, he had been properly and adequately trained by master ophthalmic surgeons.”


Rizal conceived the establishment of a Filipino colony in North Borneo (Sabah) He planned to move those Filipino families to that British-owned island and carve out of its virgin wilderness a “New Calamba” March 7, 1892 – he went to Sandakan on board the ship Menon to negotiate with the British authorities for the establishment of a Filipino colony. His mission was successful.

The British Authorities of Borneo were willing to give the Filipino colonists, 100,000 acres of land, a beautiful harbor and a good government for 999 years, free of all charges. By April 20, he was back in Hong Kong.

Rizal friends in Europe enthusiastically endorsed his Borneo colonization project. Lopez Jaena express his desire to join the project and wrote to Rizal saying: “I have a great desire of joining you. Reserve for me there a piece of land where I can plant sugarcane. I shall go there. . . to dedicate myself to the cultivation of sugarcane and the making of sugar. Send me further details.” Hidalgo, on the other hand, objected to the colonization project saying:

“This idea about Borneo, is no good. Why should we leave the Philippines, this beautiful country of ours? And besides what will people say? Why have we made all these sacrifices? Why should we go to a foreign land without first exhausting all means for the welfare of the country which nurtured us from our cradles? Tell me that!” The infamous Weyler, whom the Cubans called “The Butcher” was relieved of his gubernatorial office. A new governor general Eulogio Despujol, the Count of Caspe, announced to the Filipino people a fine program of government Rizal sent him a letter of felicitation (dated December 23, 1891) and offering his cooperation, but instead the governor did not even acknowledge receipt of his letter. Rizal wrote a second letter (dated March 21, 1892), in this second letter, he requested the governor general to permit the landless Filipinos to establish themselves in Borneo. Despujol, did not give Rizal the “courtesy of a reply”. Instead, he notified the Spanish consul general in Hong Kong to tell Rizal that he could not approve the Filipino immigration to Borneo, alleging that, “the Philippines lacked laborers” and “it was not very patriotic to go off and cultivate foreign soil”


He wrote “Ang Mga Karapatan Nang Tao” (a tagalog translation of “The Rights of Man” proclaimed by the French Revolution in 1789) About the same time (1891), he wrote “A la Nacion Española” (To the Spanish Nation), which is an appeal to Spain to right the wrongs done to the Calamba tenants. Another proclamation, entitled “Sa Mga Kababayan” (To my Countrymen) was written in December 1891 explaining the Calamba agrarian situation. Rizal contributed articles to the British daily newspaper, The Hong Kong Telegraph, whose editor, Mr. Frazier Smith, was his friend. March 2, 1892 – Rizal wrote “Una Visita a la Victoria Gaol” (A Visit to Victoria Gaol), an account of his visit to the colonial prison of Hong Kong. In this article he contrasted the cruel Spanish prison system with the modern and more humane prison system. He wrote an article entitled “Colonisation du British North Borneo, par de Familles de Iles Philippines” (Colonization of British north Borneo by families from the Philippine Islands) to elucidate his Borneo colonization project He elaborated on the same idea in another article in Spanish, “Proyecto de Colonizacion del British North Borneo por los Filipinos” (Project of the Colonization of British North Borneo by the Filipinos) June 1892 – he wrote “La Mano Roja” (The Red Hand) which denounces the frequent outbreaks of intentional fires in Manila. “Constitution of the Liga Filipina”

– printed in 1892, was the most important writing made by Rizal during his Hong Kong sojourn To deceived the Spanish authorities, the printed copies carries the false information that the printing was done by the LONDON PRINTING PRESS, No. 25, Khulug Street, London. The idea of establishing the Liga Filipina was originally conceived by Jose Ma. Basa, but it was Rizal who wrote its constitution and realized its establishment.


May 1892 –Rizal made up his mind to return to Manila

The decision was spurred by the following:

1.) To confer with Governor Despujol regarding his Borneo colonization project. 2.) To establish the Liga Filipina in Manila

3.) To prove that Eduardo de Lete was wrong in attacking him in Madrid that he being comfortable and safe in Hong Kong, had abandoned the country’s cause. Lete’s attack which was printed in La Solidaridad on April 15, 1892, portrayed Rizal as cowardly, egoistic, opportunistic – a patriot in words only. Rizal protested to Del Pilar saying:

“I am more convinced that yourself to be carried away. Friend or enemy, if the article has harmed me, it would harm more the interests of the Philippines. Who knows, however, if after all it was for the best; it has shaken me awake, and long after a long silence I enter the field anew. .. I am going to activate the Propaganda again and fortify the Liga.” To Ponce, Rizal confided on May 23, 1892:

“I am very sorry that Del Pilar allowed the article to be published because it will lead many to believe that there is really a schism among us. I believe that we can well have little misunderstanding and personal differences among ourselves, without exhibiting them in public. . As for myself. . . I always welcome criticisms because they improve those who wish to be improved”


On June 19, 1892 he spent his 31st birthday in Hong Kong.

Evidently, he had premonition of his death, for the following day, June 20 he wrote two letters which he sealed, inscribed in each envelop “to be opened after my death,” and gave them to his friend, Dr. Marques for safekeeping. The first letter was addressed TO MY PARENTS, BRETHREN, AND FRIENDS, is as follows:

“The affection that I have ever professed for you suggests this step, and time alone can tell whether or not it is sensible. The outcome judges things according to the consequences; but whether the result be favorable or unfavorable, it may always be said that duty urged me, so if I die in doing it, it will not matter.

I realize how much suffering I have caused you yet I do not regret what I have done. Rather, if I had to begin over again I should do just the same, for what I have done has been only in pursuit of my duty. Gladly do I go to expose myself to peril, not as an expiation of misdeeds for in this matter I believe myself guiltless of any, but to complete my work and so that I, myself, may offer the examples of which I have always preached.

A man ought to die for duty and his principles. I hold fast to every idea which I have advanced as to the condition and future of our country, and shall willingly die for it, and even more willingly sacrifice all to secure justice and peace for you. With pleasure, then, I risk life to save so many innocent persons – so many nieces and nephews, so many children of friends, and children too of others who are not even friend – who are suffering on my account. What am I? A bachelor, practically without a family and sufficiently undeceived as to life. I have had many disappointments and the future before me is gloomy, and will be gloomy if light does not illuminate it with dawn of a better day for my native land. On the other hand, there are many persons, filled with hope and ambition, who perhaps might be happier if I were dead, and then I hope my enemies would be satisfied and stop persecuting so many entirely innocent people. To a certain extent their hatred is justifiable as to myself, and my parents and relatives. Should fate go against me, you will all understand that I shall die happy in the thought that my death will end all your troubles. Return to our country and may you be happy in it. Till the last moment of my life I shall be thinking of you and wishing you all good fortune and happiness.”

The second letter was addressed TO THE FILIPINOS, and is as follows:

“The step which I am taking, or rather am about to take, is undoubtedly risky, and it is unnecessary to say that I have considered it for some time. I understand that almost every one is opposed to it; but I know also that hardly anybody else understands what is in my heart. I cannot live on seeing so many suffer unjust persecution on my account; I cannot bear the sight of my sisters and their numerous families treated like criminals. I prefer death and cheerfully shall relinquish life to free so many innocent persons from such unjust persecution.

I appreciate the fact that at present the future of our country gravitates in some degree around me, that at my death many will feel triumphant, and thus, many are now wishing for my fall. But what of it? I hold duties of conscience above all else. I have obligations to the families who suffer, to my aged parents whose sight strikes me to the heart; I know that I alone, only my death can make them happy, returning them to their native land to a peaceful life at home. I am all my parents have, but our country has many more sons who can take my place and even do my work better.

Besides I wish to show those who deny us the boon of patriotism that we know how to die for duty and principles. What matters death, if one dies for what one loves, for native land and beings held dear?

If I thought that I were the only resource for the consummation of a policy of progress in the Philippines and were I convinced that my countrymen were going to make use of my services, perhaps, I should hesitate about taking this step; but there are others who can take my place, who can do my services that are not utilize, and I am reduced to inactivity.

Always have I loved our unhappy land, and I am sure that I shall continue loving it till my last moment, in case men prove unjust to me. My career, my life, my happiness – and all I have sacrificed for love of it. Whatever my fate I shall die blessing it and longing for the dawn of its redemption.

June 21, 1892 – Rizal penned another letter in HK for Governor Despujol. In this letter, he informed the governor general of his coming to Manila and placed himself under the protection of the Spanish government. June 21, 1892 – (On the same date) Rizal and his sister Lucia left HK for Manila. They carried a special passport or “safe-conduct” issued by the Spanish consul-general in Hong Kong.


The Spanish consul-general sent a cablegram to Governor Despujol that the victim “is in the trap”. On the same day a secret case was filed in Manila against Rizal and his followers “for anti-religious and anti-patriotic agitation” Despujol ordered his secretary, Luis de la Torre, to find out if Rizal was naturalized as a German citizen, as was rumored, so that he might take proper action against on “who had the protection of a strong nation” Meanwhile, Rizal and his sister were peacefully crossing the China Sea. They were fully unaware of the Spanish duplicity.

Shakespeare: Foreshadowing In Macbeth

William Shakespeare has been, and continues to be, one of the most famous writers of all time. His writings, specifically playwrights, include varieties of different writing techniques that never fail to capture the attention of audiences of all ages. One of his most famous tragedies – Macbeth – is certainly no disappointment. Though Macbeth is one of his shortest tragedies, Shakespeare takes the elements of madness, evilness, and jealousness and wraps them up into a timeless tale chock full of literary elements.

One of the most studied and most profound literary elements found in Macbeth is foreshadowing. Foreshadow; verb; be a warning or indication of (a future event). ” Foreshadowing gives the audience a hint of what is to come without completely giving away the event, though it will make sense after the event happens. The first example of foreshadowing we see in Macbeth is found in Act 1, Scene 1 in the three witches’ prophecies. We see the three witches show up multiple times throughout Macbeth to hint at the future.

The reader immediately sees an example of the prophecies in Act 1, Scene 1 when the witches are talking about meeting Macbeth. They say that they will meet him “when the battle’s lost and won” (Act 1, Scene 1). Logistically, this phrase makes sense because every battle will have a loser and a winner, however when we look at the deeper meaning of this phrase, it shows the witches’ recurring “double meaning” way of speaking that will eventually give false hope to Macbeth in the ending battle scenes.

We see another example of foreshadowing in the Act 1, Scene 1 witches’ prophecies of Macbeth as well. All of the witches come together and yell “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” (Act 1, Scene 1). The element of this phrase recurs throughout Macbeth to show the differences between reality and appearance. Macbeth quotes a similar version of this phrase in his first entrance when he says “So foul and fair a day I have not seen” (Act 1, Scene 3). The day itself, the weather, is “foul”, but the day’s events have proven “fair” because they have won the battle.

This witch prophecy contradicts reality and appearance and foreshadows that there will be many events in the future that may look “fair” to the eye, but are, in reality, “foul”. One final example of foreshadowing that we see in the introduction of Macbeth is when the witches come to meet Macbeth and Banquo. Each witch greets Macbeth with a separate title: “Thane of Glamis”, “Thane of Cawdor”, and “King hereafter” (Act 1, Scene 3). This foreshadowing is a little more obvious than the others in the fact that it is clear Macbeth will be given these three titles at some point in his life.

The witches fail to mention, however, the manner in which these titles will be achieved, which we know to be a maddening venture for Macbeth and his wife. Foreshadowing, no matter how bold or subtle, is a key literary element in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The three witches prophesize the upcoming events in Macbeth, adding to the suspense and adventure of the writing. The foreshadowing and other literary elements in Macbeth help maintain such a classic piece of tragedy literature that will stand the test of time.

error: Content is protected !!