In the course of the voyage, the hyena kills the orangutan and the zebra before being killed by the tiger. Eventually, the tiger and Pi are left alone and after a voyage that could compete with “The Odysseus” in its drama, the two land on a beach in Mexico, where the tiger disappears into the jungle. When the insurance agents decline to believe that he could have survived 227 days alone with a tiger, Pi offers them another, possibly a more plausible story.
In this version, there are no animals. Rather, Pi after the wreck has for company, his mother, a Buddhist sailor with a broken leg, and the cook. Short of food, the resourceful cook kills the sailor and offers his body parts as bait for fish so that they can eat. Pi’ mother intervenes to save Pi, but the cook kills her too and eventually Pi kills the cook and is all alone on the boat till the boat lands. Pi asks the insurance agents to choose which ever story they want; the one with the animals or the one without. Eventually they leave but in their report to their HQ, they recount the story of Pi having survived the long voyage with a tiger for company and suggest that this is nothing short of miraculous.
The way Pi tells the story in the movie is nothing short of amazing without quite saying so, Pi implies, that both the stories are one and the same. The parallels are abstract: the orangutan was Pi's mother, the zebra was the sailor, the hyena was the cook, and Richard Parker, the tiger, was Pi himself. The tiger’s zest and zeal for life was paralleled by Pi himself and the other characters too played their part - the cunning cook represented by the hyena, the maternal orangutan by Pi’s mother and the compassionate Buddhist sailor by the docile Zebra.
The whole story is a stunning riddle of symbolism that once you find out which one was which and realize that the animals in the movie represent humans you see the bigger picture which will haunt you for a long time.
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