Life of Pi
How we cite our quotes:
We laid him as comfortably as we could on a mattress of life jackets and kept him warm. I thought it was all for nothing. I couldn't believe a human being could survive so much pain, so much butchery. Throughout the evening and night he moaned, and his breathing was harsh and uneven. He had fits of agitated delirium. I expected him to die during the night. (3.99.248)
Like Mr. Okamoto and Mr. Chiba, we at Shmoop think Pi's second story is horrific and gruesome. But it's worth noting that in both Pi's stories extreme pain and suffering lead to madness. In some books, madness sneaks up on a character, or the character was always mad and the reader doesn't realize it until the end. But in Life of Pi madness happens after traumatic events; it's brought on by hunger or thirst. Every animal may have a mischievous, healthy streak of madness (1.10.2), but the heavy-duty delusions show up during or after great suffering. Does Pi learn anything from his worst episodes? Do Pi's delusions still communicate a sort of truth?