Can you compare and contrast Life of Pi and the poem "The Panther"?Here is the poem: His vision, from the constantly passing bars,has grown so weary that it cannot holdanything else. It seems to...

Can you compare and contrast Life of Pi and the poem "The Panther"?

Here is the poem:

His vision, from the constantly passing bars,
has grown so weary that it cannot hold
anything else. It seems to him there are
a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world.

As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
the movement of his powerful soft strides
is like a ritual dance around a center
in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.

Only at times, the curtain of the pupils
lifts, quietly--. An image enters in,
rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles,
plunges into the heart and is gone.

Asked on by armoyo

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accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

This is an interesting question. My first reaction is to find a parallel between the poem and the way that the panther finds his being and existence shrunk down to the space of his cell and the bars that prevent his freedom. He comes to believe that his world only consists of this space, and that the "thousand bars" only represent a boundary between his world and "no world." As a result, his "might will stands paralysed." This reminds me of the way that Pi's life becomes suddenly restricted to the lifeboat and his raft. He, like the panther, by necessity comes to focus on this narrowest and slimmest of geographical locations as his "world." The sea represents the bars that mark the boundary between the state of "world" and "no world." In order to survive, Pi can only allow himself to focus on his immediate realities, thus "paralysing" his "mighty will," though of course just like the panther, occasionally his singleminded focus is interrupted by otehr thoughts.

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