Pi and Richard Parker, the tiger, had formed a strong bond prior the fateful journey to Canada. At one point, Pi’s father took him and his brother along to feed the tiger. Pi’s father was trying to describe the true state of nature with regards to the wild animals he kept in the zoo. He wanted to educate his sons about the need to be cautious and responsible when closely interacting with the wild animals. This lesson coupled with others helped Pi survive on the lifeboat with the tiger.
After the ship capsized, Pi noticed Richard Parker trying to swim his way to the boat. He helped the tiger onto the boat, and he was glad he did, in spite of the tiger being a potential man-eater. Pi was glad because he was able to salvage a part of his past. Richard Parker represented his family’s legacy, and because his entire family had perished at sea, saving the tiger was a priority.
The tiger saved Pi from the hyena, which had devoured the injured zebra and the orangutan aboard the lifeboat. Richard Packer helped Pi stay alive by challenging his will to survive. Pi worked hard to preserve the tiger’s life by providing food. This daily activity helped him preserve his own life. Richard Parker also saved Pi from the French castaway they encountered on their journey. The tiger attacked and fed on the castaway, who wanted to kill Pi.