At the beginning of chapter 46, Pi's smile unbends because he begins to lose hope of being rescued. This dawning realization foreshadows how long he will actually have to spend at sea. Both the gathering clouds and Pi's own words foreshadow the horrible events of his second night in the...
At the beginning of chapter 46, Pi's smile unbends because he begins to lose hope of being rescued. This dawning realization foreshadows how long he will actually have to spend at sea. Both the gathering clouds and Pi's own words foreshadow the horrible events of his second night in the lifeboat:
I have so many bad nights to choose from that I’ve made none the champion. Still, that second night at sea stands in my memory as one of exceptional suffering.
The sharks gathering round the lifeboat present another ominous sign. Sharks are often drawn to blood in the water and, though there is no blood in the ocean yet, there soon will be when the hyena runs amok and bites the zebra. The "long, murderous teeth" of the mako sharks also foreshadow the cruel bite of the hyena.
Orange Juice the orangutang is still anthropomorphized in this chapter, but she is no longer an amusing character in her resemblance to Pi. Her expression is now "profoundly sad and mournful" as she looks out over the water and grieves for her lost sons. This foreshadows the way in which Pi will end the chapter by mourning his family, finally admitting to himself that they must all be dead and enumerating all the different things he has lost by being separated from his brother, father, and mother. Finally, he is unable to go on and, like Orange Juice, gives way to despair.
To answer this question, we first need to establish what foreshadowing is. This literary device involves the author providing a sneak peek as to what is to come later in the story. Foreshadowing may not make sense or be recognizable upon first reading, but when the story reaches its conclusion, the reader can look back on examples of foreshadowing and understand it fully.
I would argue that the best example of foreshadowing provided in chapter forty-six is when an “alarm bell of insanity” was referred to. Later in the book, once Pi is ashore and being interviewed by investigators in Mexico, they do not believe Pi’s account of spending 227 days on a lifeboat with only a tiger for company for most of that time. When they insist that Pi tell them the “real” story of what happened, at which point he offers an alternative version of the story, in which there were four human survivors including a chef, a sailor with a broken leg, Pi, and Pi’s mother.
When the second version of the story proves more acceptable to the investigators, the reader’s mind will immediately flash back to chapter forty-six, when the idea of Pi’s insanity was first raised. Since it is left up to the reader to decide which version of the story is true, the second may become more plausible in light of the sanity question raised earlier or foreshadowed.
Foreshadowing is a technique used throughout Yann Martel's Life of Pi and in Chapter 46, foreshadowing is used to show the dangers the protagonist finds himself in and hint at what might happen to him later.
Foreshadowing as a literary device is used by the writer to give some clues about what is to come later in the story, helping the reader to start knowing (or thinking they know) what to expect. As such, it builds suspense and creates atmosphere. It can be done through dialogue or imagery, and it encourages the reader to start making connections about what might happen next or later in the text.
The narrator, Pi, gives a hint of the troubles to come by describing his difficult second night at sea as "different from later ones in that I still had the strength to appreciate fully what I felt". We know immediately then that there will be further nights, and he will start to get weaker than he currently is.
He describes how Orange Juice, the orangutan, looks at him and "expressed nothing about it. I was just another animal that had lost everything and was vowed to death." The idea of possible death is introduced, and the assumption that this could be Pi's fate. Later in the chapter, Pi shares his realization that "it was not only the day that died and the poor zebra, but my family as well."
The violence of the death of the zebra, attacked and eaten alive by the hyena, could be seen as foreshadowing the possibility of more death and attacks, including, perhaps, that of Pi himself.
When the sharks gather round, Pi states "I was not afraid we would capsize—I thought the sharks would actually punch through the metal hull and sink us." This serves to introduce the very idea of the possibility of capsizing and sinking that the reader may well now carry with them as they continue reading.
Another example of foreshadowing or suggestion is achieved with "A single fly buzzed about, sounding to me like an alarm bell of insanity." It introduces the idea of insanity and questions whether or not the narrator can be seen as reliable.