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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Life of Pi

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By looking at Life of Pi by Yann Martel, one can see that an individual has a limit to how much physical and emotional strain they can endure before they are forced to resort to doubting their beliefs and values, and when they are forced into isolation, may become mentally unstable and create their own version of reality. Martel portrays this idea best through the main character, Piscine Patel, otherwise known as Pi. Pi unwillingly embarks on a strenuous voyage in the Pacific Ocean in a lifeboat after most of his family dies in a shipwreck during their move to Canada to escape the political situation on India in the 1970s. The emotional pain at the loss of his family is indescribably horrifying, and the physical deterioration that Pi experiences far exceeds his limit, as the whole journey is a question of his love, hope, and faith. According to “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs,” a theory by Abraham Maslow, first, the physiological needs must be met, then the needs of safety, belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. When one spends their time alone, trying to meet those integral needs of life, there will always be physical and spiritual barriers.
Martel describes Pi as a gentle boy with many curiosities and a great interest in variety, especially multiple religions, those of which are Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity, and shares that the adult Pi studies cosmogony, any theory concerning the coming into existence or origin of the universe, or about how reality came to be. Pi’s
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