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Psychology of Human Behaviour--Students IN HIGH SCHOOL will follow Pi as he deals with loss and grief, lonliness and isolation, and ultimately survival. What in our psyche allows us to survive?
Pi's Psychology
Thus far in the story there is seldom that can be attained about Pi’s psychology. There are evident signs of a traumatic event or events, but a complete analysis can not be made with out being able to correlate effects to their cause. However there are a few things that can be analyzed to predict some of his actions. It was very odd to find that Pi was studying zoology and religion since they are so different that they contradict each other. Pi states, “He (Mr. Kumar) became my favorite teacher at Petit Seminaire and the reason I studied zoology at the University of Toronto,” however I believe his cause for his studies are rooted much deeper than the admiration of one teacher (Martel 28). Pi mentions, “...It (the zoo) was paradise on earth. I have nothing but the fondest memories of growing up in a zoo” (Martel 14). Previous to Pi stating that Mr. Kumar was the reason for his interest in Zoology I predicted that it was his way of reminiscing in the past. The time he spent in the serenity of the Zoo was before he encountered his suffering, so by entangling himself in something of extreme similarity he is escaping reality and reentering his childhood. He just viewed Zoos as a sentimental interest that could not be developed further, until he met Mr. Kumar. He showed him there was a study that surpassed the appearance of a Zoo. After meeting Mr. Kumar, Santosha showed pi and ravi the most dangerous animals that lived in the zoo. He showed them the tiger eating the goat, and told them what would happen if you were not smart and stuck your hand into the cage. After he done that it was as like a recognition for Pi. He liked the study of animals, but after seeing this, I think it tramatized him and maybe hes gonna lead his study toward religion. I think his dad did this because it was a way to teach Pi somthing. Maybe it was to keep himself of of where he doesn't belong so nothing bad would happen to him...
Natasha M. and Ian L. period 1

Traumatizing Events and Their Effects
Early-life trauma affects future self-esteem, social awareness, ability to learn and physical health. People who have been traumatized as infants and young children are more at risk for traumatic experiences later in life.
Traumatizing events can take a serious emotional toll on those involved, even if the event did not cause physical damage. Traumatizing event affect future interactions with others, self-esteem, self-control, and the ability to learn and to achieve optimum mental and physical health. Symptoms can include the following:
  • Low self esteem
  • Needy, clingy or pseudo-independent behavior
  • Inability to deal with stress and adversity
  • Lack of self-control
  • Inability to develop and maintain friendships
  • Alienation from and opposition to parents, caregivers, and other authority figures
  • Antisocial attitudes and behaviors
  • Aggression and violence
  • Difficulty with genuine trust, intimacy, and affection
  • Negative, hopeless, pessimistic view of self, family and society
  • Lack of empathy, compassion and remorse
  • Speech and language problems
  • Incessant chatter and questions
  • Difficulty learning
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Apathy
  • Susceptibility to chronic illness
  • Obsession with food: hordes, gorges, refuses to eat, eats strange things, hides food
  • Repetition of the cycle of maltreatment and attachment disorder in their own children when they reach adulthood
Lynette S.

Pi used to love animals and he seemed to have enjoyed spending time with them and he really seemed to admire them. After his father showed him the tiger eating the goat and how dangerous animals can be, Pi was traumatized and his feelings toward animals changed. He is completely terrified of them now.
Megan S.

A child's upbringing affects the way that he (or she) sees and deals with life in the future. For example, if a child is punished for yelling out in public that child will learn it is not right to yell in public. When Pi says, "we commonly say in the trade that the most dangerous animal in a zoo is man"(Martel 36), he has been affected by growing up in a zoo. Will his experience affect the way he treats other men in the furture? Has this phrase made him more afraid of humans than he is of animals?
Katherine M.

"Normally the big cats were not given food one day a week, to simulate conditions in the wild. We found out later that Father had ordered that Mahisha not be fed for three days" (Martel 44). This experience was traumatic for Pi and effected him in many ways. First, it told him he could manipulate his surroundings in order to get what you want. Second, not only did it change his feelings toward animals it changed his feelings toward his father. His father went out of his way to provide a bad experience and that is what he remembers.
Nikki S.

Survival of the Fittest
The phrase 'survival of the fittest' in itself is a tautology or a statement which is proven true by its own definition. So we must ask ourselves does 'fittest' mean those who are better at surviving or merely those who have enough to survive? Does Pi have what it takes to survive what lies ahead or does he already have the upper hand because he comes from a species that has a long track record of surviving?
Lindsay S.

After Pi's father's demonstration of the dangers of animals Pi, Ravi and his mother ignore him for a week. Pi's mother was mad because she thought that her children were too young to see such a horrifying site and although his father thinks they are old enough to be able to handle it, he still underestimates his children, "What if Piscine had stuck his hand through the bars of the cage one day to touch the pretty orange fur?"(45). Although Pi claims to give his father the silent treatment, he does not seem to be completely shocked by the tiger incident. He learns the lesson of the tiger's dangerousness but he also says he could not be mad at his father for too long because he loves him. In fact, the only thing he talks about after his father's lesson is the poor rhinoceros' and how they would miss the beloved goat that became the tiger's meal. Pi accepts the animals and their savageness but he also cannot stop from loving and trusting them, like his father.
Jenni P.

Darwins theory of survival of the fittest is the oldest theory that has been active even dating back to the dinosaur age. Pi is introduced to this one day when his dad belives that he is comming to the age where curiosity is active in his brian and common sense has not developed yet (age eight). He is shown and told that each animal in the zoo has their own preditory or reaction instincs. After watching a tiger malling a goat to death Pi realizes that there is only one chance at life and he has to make the most of it. Not only that but if he does not use his head along his path of life he is not going to have what it takes to survive and end up like the goat in the tiger pen.
Danny G.S & Devon M.

Pi uses his experiences with animals to survive his boat trip to Canada. He admires the animals and the ways that they live their life; the freedom of the animals connects with his decision of practicing many religions because he doesn't feel controlled by human society. Pi is in his own little world.
"...he establishes that the ring is his territory, not theirs, a notion that he reinforces by shouting, by stomping about, by snapping his whip" (Martel 54). We believe that Pi is going to use this techniqe in order to get into the tiger's head on the boat so he can take the upper hand and survive the journey.
-Nikki S., Megan S., Lindsay S., Lynette S., Katherine M.
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