Yann Martel's novel Life of Pi tells the story of Piscine ("Pi") Patel, an Indian boy who ends up stranded at sea on a lifeboat with a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan named Orange Juice, and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. One by one, the animals perish, leaving Pi alone on the lifeboat with the tiger.
Although Pi is initially scared of Richard Parker, he eventually recognizes that the tiger is actually a calming influence.
It was Richard Parker who calmed me down. It is the irony of this story that the one who scared me witless to start with was the very same who brought me peace, purpose, I dare even say wholeness.
Pi also credits Richard Parker with giving him the will to live.
If I still had the will to live, it was thanks to Richard Parker. He kept me from thinking too much about my family and my tragic circumstances. He pushed me to go on living.
When another shipwreck victim attempts to harm Pi, Richard Parker kills the man. Pi acknowledges that he is still alive because of the tiger.
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