Did Pi consume a human in Life of Pi?

Quick answer:

Pi most likely eats a human. After surviving a shipwreck and witnessing the killing and eating of his mother by a cook, Pi kills the cook and consumes him. This allows him to avenge his mother's death and continue to survive.

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The titular character in Yann Martel's Life of Pi is a young boy who crafts a far-fetched tale to help him cope with a traumatizing experience.

Pi's father is a zookeeper, and the family travels by ship, along with many animals, on a journey to Canada. A terrible storm hits and the ship sinks, leaving few survivors.

According to Pi's first account of events, he makes his way to a lifeboat and discovers that he is sharing it with a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra, and a tiger. The hyena kills the zebra and orangutan before being killed and eaten by the tiger.

In reality, each of the animals in Pi's story represents a person who survived the sinking of the ship. The lifeboat is actually occupied by a cook (the hyena), a sailor (the zebra), Pi's mother (the orangutan), and Pi (the tiger). After the sailor dies, the cook uses some of his flesh for bait and even consumes other pieces. Eventually, the cook kills Pi's mother. Devastated by his mother's death, Pi kills the cook and eats him to survive.

Pi is traumatized by the shipwreck, as well as the subsequent events which occur in the lifeboat. He loses his father and brother when the ship is destroyed and then watches the killing and consumption of his mother and a sailor by the cook.

Filled with rage and the instinct to survive, Pi kills and eats the cook, which further traumatizes him. Pi, who is a vegetarian, is devastated not only by his consumption of meat, but also by his violent actions. To suppress his trauma, Pi dissociates from the event by creating an alternate reality in which animals, not people, commit acts of violence and consume one another. Although the ready cannot be entirely certain which story is true, it seems that Pi copes with the barbarism and cannibalism he witnessed and committed by replacing people with animals in his alternate version of the events he experienced.

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