In Part Two of Life of Pi, which animals are on the lifeboat and what might they symbolize?

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The animals on the boat are a zebra, which is wounded; a vicious hyena; a loving orangutan; and a tiger with a very human name, Richard Parker. In Pi's first account of what happens on the boat, the hyena kills the wounded zebra and the meek orangutan, then the tiger kills the hyena. But in Pi's second version of the story, the animals become human beings, implying that the beasts are actually symbols of the types of humans Pi must deal with. The zebra is a wounded Chinese sailor who is killed by the ship's vicious cook, or the hyena. The cook then kills Pi's mother, symbolized by the kindly orangutan, and Pi—the tiger in the first story—kills the cook out of revenge for his mother's death.

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