Life Of Pi Castaway Essay

Decent Essays
The Webster Dictionary defines the word “lost” as something that has been “taken away” or that is “beyond reach or attainment.” To be a castaway is to be a person lost at sea. In the novel Life of Pi, the central character, Pi Patel, is a castaway. Throughout Pi’s journey, Yann Martel uses circles to represent the feeling of hopelessness. He presents this through Pi’s perspective from the raft. He describes the horizon as a circle: his “gaze is always a radius” (216), carving out the circle that confines him. While he is stuck on the raft, Pi is isolated by his own vision. Incapable of seeing the vast world beyond his place and time, he’s left with no hope for survival or for rescue. Pi is stranded at sea for 227 days: during this time, he learns that “to be a castaway is to be a point perpetually at the center of a circle” (215). In every direction he looks, Pi is surrounded by an empty ocean, this provides him with no hope for a savior. Pi spends most of his time watching this horizon, even though it does not contain any signs of external life. He observes that even though the environment may appear to change-- “the sea may shift from whisper to rage” (215) raising his level of fear or “the sky might go from fresh blue to blinding white to darkest black” (215) reminding…show more content…
This is because “to be a castaway is to be caught up in grim and exhausting opposites” (216): during the day “the openness of the sea is blinding and frightening” (216) and at night “the darkness is claustrophobic” (216). This is why Yann Martel chose to use circles as a symbol for hopelessness during Pi’s time at sea. There is no break from suffering; it is a never ending cycle of alternating pains. During the day being able to see that he is alone in his little circle frightens Pi. But at night he experiences the true feeling of being trapped, because he knows there is no easy
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