Agreed - the island is pretty weird. My first thoughts upon concluding the novel (which I also loved) were that the island could be an interesting part of the allegorical nature of Richard Parker, who I see as representing Pi's inner savage. Because Pi only had to employ this savagery in order to survive, he doesn't have any problems with Richard Parker on the island, where there is not much threat (at first) to his survival. He is worried he won't be able to control Richard Parker off the boat, but doesn't have much trouble with this. So, he begins to accept the lull of life on the island, yet when he becomes pacified by the idea of his oneness with Richard Parker, he realizes the island is carnivorous and he would die a slow death. This perhaps alludes to the idea that if he fully accepts his inner savagery, it will eventually "eat up" the civilized part of him.
These are all just surmises on my part, but I find the chapter intriguing!
it is quite useful. it is a very intense and a very nice book.
I appreciated Eabettencourt's response to the question about the island and will use that with my students this week!
I agree that this chapter is intriguing and almost out of place. If we look at the book as an allegory, I think that the island may represent the places or things that we as humans initially think are safe or good for us. We then may be lulled into a sense of false security by those things and only realize when it's too late (or almost too late, as in Pi's case) that those things only appear to be safe or good.
This book, as one of my students said yesterday, is like the ocean-- very deep!