Josh Monsi English 12/4 Ms. Rock 29 November 2012 There is not one key to survival; no it’s more like the key ring to survival. The first key I want to talk about is strength, but there is more to strength then just the physical strength there is also a need for emotional strength. “Its life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. ” Martel, Yann. "56. " Life of Pi: A Novel. New York: Harcourt, 2001. 203. Print. This is why the mastery of fear can help you survive.
Love which is almost an exact opposite of fear but goes hand in hand with hope; alas there are many forms of love that can bring about the needs to survive, this helps Pi and Chuck near the end of the trials. Knowing you are at the top, or that you are the alpha gives you strength and courage to carry on, both Chuck and Pi need to come to this realization in order to survive. This key ring of characteristics does not stop here; I have only a chosen a select few. Although both Pi and Chuck survived they accomplished this feat using the same characteristics but in a unique way differing from the other.
Emotional and physical strength will determine your ability to survive as it did in the stories of Pi and Chuck. “... without mercy. Not caring if we're healthy or ill. Hungry or drunk. Russian, American, beings from Mars. It's like a fire, it could either destroy us or it could keep us warm. ”. Castaway. Dir. Robert Zemeckis. Perf. Tom Hanks. 20th Century Fox, 2000. DVD. This quote is from the movie Castaway and in a way explains what the lack of physical and emotional strength can do to you. First the physical side of strength, this characteristic helped Pi and Chuck with the physical challenges they faced.
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Pi's first major struggle was with hunger; this burden took most if not all of Pi's strength. The hunger lead Pi to do things and eat things he would have never done in his life if he were not in this situation where he had no other choice. Chuck had a different first physical challenge, this challenge affected him quite a lot in his story and it was physical injuries; constantly he was getting cut by his tools or getting hurt by things he was trying to build, but in any case he was getting hurt and cutting down on his physical strengths.
Though these trials are different they both needed physical strengths to overcome their challenges. Emotional strain can cause a person to lose the will to survive or even the will to live. This is more clearly shown when chick is thinking about suicide, his emotional strength was done he no longer had the will to live. Pi didn’t struggle with the thought of suicide like Chuck but instead he emotionally struggled with death. From the ship that went down with his family to the lifeboat with slaughtered animals this all must have been an emotional shock to a boy who cannot even kill a fish without tears.
Though the trials of their physical and emotional strengths were different hey both had the strength needed to survive. Strength played another important role in both of their stories when they needed to step up and be the alpha male. “I had to devise a training program for Richard Parker’s had to make him understand that I was the top tiger and that his territory was limited... ”Martel, Yann. "58. " Life of Pi: A Novel. New York: Harcourt, 2001. 211.
Print Pi and Chuck both show the characteristic of being an alpha male, but at the same time show a weakness to something that might be stronger. In the quote above it talks about Pi when he is starting to train Richard Parker the lion, peeing on the boat, and blowing his whistle are a few of the ways that he marks his territory and lets him know he is the alpha. Chuck on the other hand there is not doubt he is alpha, alone on an island he has total control nothing to fear but there is one thing still holding him in place.
So in order to survive you need to be an alpha male and both of these characters eventually by the end of survival overcome these two antagonists holding them back. With Pi his antagonist is Richard Parker, but soon he marks his territory and trains Richard Parker and it’s easier sailing from there. Chucks antagonist was the waves; the waves held him back when he tried to escape and left him in fear until he finally had the courage and resources to try again. In both stories the characters survive because they were able to overcome these obstacles and truly be the alpha in their certain situations.
A big part that they had to overcome on their path to being alpha was the fear of the task; fear plays an immense role in the story of survival for these two. “Fear next turns to your body… your jaw begins to gallop on the spot. Your ears go deaf. Your muscles begin to shiver as if they had malaria and your knees to shake as though they were dancing…”Martel, Yann. "56. " Life of Pi: A Novel. New York: Harcourt, 2001. 203. Print. The fear that Pi has is the same fear that chuck has, though the fear may come in a different form it is something they both have to overcome.
One of the reasons these two are able to survive is because of their fear, the fear of pain, of death, this fear is what helps them to push on and survive. Pi describes fear almost like a disease the way it affects you, this fear almost led chuck to suicide and this fear almost influenced Pi to give up his hope. By being able to surpass this fear and suppress it as well chuck doesn’t give up hope and he is soon rewarded by a piece of trash that will help him overcome and pass through that seemingly impenetrable wall of water blocking his escape.
For Pi his fear was of living on a raft with a 450 pound killing machine and with good reason, but by overcoming his fear not only is he able to survive but train the tiger as well in order to survive more comfortable. Fear was a necessary characteristic that these two needed in order to survive, but they needed another characteristic to have a ying and yang effect and help them progress, which was love. “I just want to love God” Martel, Yann. "23. " Life of Pi: A Novel. New York: Harcourt, 2001. 87.
Print, Pi’s love for God helped him understand his trial and that he would just needed to be patient and have hope. I say this about pi to show how love can help you survive; he learned through his love of God to appreciate the little things that did go right and to deal with the big things that went wrong. Chuck had a similar love but this love was for his fiance, he wanted to return to her and he used the wanting to push him to live and to survive. Now fear has the effect for one to be afraid of death or pain; love on the other hand helps a person look at their life and learn to love it.
This love of life is just as powerful as the fear of death, these two characteristics make them want to survive and even at the same time help them to survive. This unbeatable mix of characteristics helped Pi stay on a small boat even though death was feet away in striped fur, and it was this same two characteristics that froze Chucks feet in place when he wanted to jump of the cliff and end his life. Even though love may seem like one small key on a big key ring it can help you survive longer than the strongest man without love.
This key ring is not complete, I have selected only a few of the keys that Chuck and Pi needed to survive. Their Mental and Physical strength may have faltered at times but they didn’t stop, they didn’t give in to the doubt that filled their minds and they pushed through their trials headstrong. They proved their strength by becoming the alphas; they took the obstacles in their way and faced them head on having the courage to take risk that could end their lives. They feared, they feared the end and were not ready for it to come and they used fear to push them to the limits.
They loved thought they loved for different reasons they still loved, Pi with his love of God and Chuck with his love of women pushed through and survived to the end. Although their trials may have been different these two characters utilized the same characteristics to help them overcome their challenges and survive. Knowing that they survived it almost makes you think about your own future and your own set of characteristics, and in a way makes you want to go out there and try to survive and see if you really have what it takes; to be an mentally and physically strong, to be the alpha, to fear death, to love life, but ultimately to survive.
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