In "Life of Pi" what does Pi do to survive mentally? 

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kcoleman2016 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In The Life of Pi, it is insinuated that Pi creates an animal-based metaphor to cope with both the violence he witnesses and then his own solitude. 

At the very end of the book/film, author Yann Martel carefully draws connections between the personalities of the other people on the ship and raft and the animals that Pi was initially traveling with. Then, Pi introduces the reader to the possibility that there were never animals on the raft; they were always people. However, thinking about them as animals made it easier for Pi to accept the beastly grievances they cause to one another. 

On a related note, this would mean that there was never a tiger on the raft with Pi, and the animal that Pi was so afraid of but forced to coexist with was actually a part of his own mind and self. Imagining this part of himself, driven by instinct and aggression, as another being entirely made it easier to combat and alienate from the rest of his mind, which used rationality and hope to survive.