Part 2, Chapters 58–67 Summary and Analysis

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Chapter 58

Summary

Pi reads the survival manual included in the lifeboat’s supplies and then makes further plans for survival, such as training Richard Parker, fishing, and improving his raft. He then falls into despair over his situation.

Analysis

Despite Pi’s despair, this chapter demonstrates Pi’s embrace of his responsibility for keeping himself alive.

Chapters 59–60

Summary

Pi’s hunger and thirst bring him out of his despair. He pulls his raft next to the lifeboat and retrieves rations, drinks rainwater, and splashes his urine on the tarpaulin and locker lid to mark his territory. He then sets up solar stills to distill freshwater from seawater and improves his raft. Pi is then sufficiently recovered to really look into the sea around him, where he sees a “city” of ocean life: dorados, sharks, plankton, and so on. He goes to sleep happy, then wakes in the night. At the sight of the stars, Pi moves through a range of reflections on his suffering, prays, and returns to sleep.

Analysis

On the practical side, Pi is continuing to master his environment. On the emotional and spiritual side, his recovery is marked not only by his new ability to see the beauty of the natural world around him but also by his attempt to consciously make sense of his suffering in a religious context.

Quotes

With just one glance I discovered that the sea is a city. (Chapter 59)

Pi’s thought here is a marker of how far he has come up from his despair. He has ascended to a level of integration where he can notice what is around him for the first time. As he does so, he notices the parallels between natural activity and human activity.

For the first time I noticed—as I would notice repeatedly during my ordeal, between one throe of agony and the next—that my suffering was taking place in a grand setting. (Chapter 60)

Pi has moved another stage up the ladder of selfhood. He is not just noticing things; he is noticing the beauty and wonder in which he is living. What’s more, though his situation is more dramatic than most people’s, his comment could apply to everyone’s life.

Chapter 61

Summary

Pi decides to fish. He is not successful at fishing on his own, but flying fish begin to jump into the boat. Pi feeds one to Richard Parker, who then eats many on his own. Pi stores several fish, then uses the flying fish’s head as bait and kills one himself.

Analysis

When Pi’s own skills fail him—and he thinks Richard Parker will eat him as a result—nature and/or God suddenly provides, giving him flying fish to feed the tiger. This is another example of things working out for Pi, but it comes at a price: he must become a killer and give up his vegetarianism.

Quotes

I was now a killer. I was now as guilty as Cain.

Pi is filled with these thoughts of guilt after killing a flying fish. It is the first thing he has ever killed. In killing he adapts to his circumstances (he must kill to live), but he remembers the moral importance of his actions.

Chapter 62

Summary

Pi gets freshwater from his solar stills and feeds Richard Parker again. When Pi blows his whistle, Richard Parker goes back under the tarpaulin.

Analysis

Pi continues his practice of taming Richard Parker, but he notices that the lifeboat is becoming more and more like a zoo; he may be taming the tiger, but he is still trapped himself.

Quotes

It occurred to me that with every passing day the lifeboat was resembling a zoo more and more.

In a way Pi’s observation here marks the way that his life is a circle (it started in a zoo and is in a zoo now) and a straight line at the same time. It is a straight line because he is moving through new stages all the time. He used to be outside the cage. Now he is in it.

Chapter 63

Summary

Pi reviews memories of famous castaways and how long they survived. He establishes a regular routine for his days.

Analysis

Pi’s days blend the extremely “biological”—a practical focus on keeping himself alive—and the spiritual with regular prayers. Such a routine again indicates Pi’s dual nature, and remembering it is a kind of storytelling to help keep himself sane.

Chapter 64

Summary

Pi’s clothes disintegrate over time, and he develops boils from the seawater.

Analysis

Since it is the seawater that causes these boils, this chapter is indicating how truly hostile Pi’s environment is: outside the cage of his lifeboat, he would die.

Chapter 65

Summary

Pi attempts to learn how to navigate by studying the survival manual but fails. He later learns he crossed the ocean due to a current that follows the equator.

Analysis

This brief chapter seems practical, and it is, but it also indicates a deeply religious orientation: Pi cannot choose the course of his journey (life). He can only accept it and adapt to it.

Chapters 66–67

Summary

Chapter 66 describes how Pi fished and how he killed turtles. Chapter 67 follows that with his observations about the plants and animals growing on the bottom of his raft.

Analysis

These chapters describe Pi’s adaptation to life as a seagoing creature. From a boy who had never killed, he learns to butcher turtles. In saying that getting the turtles into the boat took “strength worthy of Hanuman,” Pi is once again finding religious parallels for his actions, as Hanuman is a Hindu god. However, Hanuman takes the form of a monkey, which indicates Pi knows how animalistic he has become.

Quotes

I descended to a level of savagery I never imagined possible. (Chapter 66)

Pi thinks this about himself after narrating how he kills turtles, as a marker for himself of just how much he has changed.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Previous

Part 2, Chapters 47–57 Summary and Analysis

Next

Part 2, Chapters 68–77 Summary and Analysis