Presentation on theme: "TIGER IMAGERY in Life of Pi. Physical Characteristics The largest and most awesome of the big cats, the tiger exudes grace, beauty and an uncanny."— Presentation transcript:
TIGER IMAGERY in Life of Pi
Physical Characteristics The largest and most awesome of the big cats, the tiger exudes grace, beauty and an uncanny ability to disappear and re-emerge from the shadowy outlines of its forest habitat. Few animals evoke such strong feelings of fear and awe as the tiger. All cats will swim if they are forced to, but most species carefully avoid water except to drink. Only the tiger and jaguar seem to relish bathing and cooling off in ponds, lakes and rivers. Often inhabiting the steamy jungles of India and Asia, tigers discovered that water was a convenient coolant and are often found sitting or lying immersed to the neck in rivers or pools.
Cultural Beliefs In many Asian cultures, tigers were a symbol of strength and royal power and were used as "executioners" in Asian courts. In the Hindu religion, the God Shiva rides a tiger and wears a tiger skin for his role as destroyer. In the Buddhist religion, followers of Buddha ride tigers to show their supernatural ability to overcome evil. Tigers were treated as God by many of the forest dwelling peoples of India and great temples and shrines were constructed to worship the tiger. The followers of Islam, in Sumatra, believe tigers punish sinners for Allah.
Tiger Medicine The use of tiger parts in traditional healing remedies has been traced back to more than 1,000 years in Chinese culture. The practices have now spread to Korea, japan, India and other areas where significant Asian populations exist. Renewed interest in traditional cures, particularly among the Asian cultures, has accelerated consumption of tiger parts and poaching to fill the demand for this trade has pushed three of the remaining species of tiger close to extinction. Nearly every part of the tiger has been reported to have healing properties by Chinese medical practitioners and in Chinese folklore. Some of the most prevalent claims are; tiger fat to treat leprosy and rheumatism; tiger bone mixed in a salve to alleviate rheumatism and fatigue; eyeballs as a treatment for epilepsy; tiger tail for skin diseases; tiger bile as a treatment for convulsions in children; tiger whiskers for tooth ache; the brain for fatigue and pimples; Tiger bone appears to be an Asian cure-all when ground into a powder, mixed with any number of herbal additives and ingested orally. The consumption of tiger parts also seen as a status symbol among Asian populations. Since the international trade in tiger bone is illegal in all but a few countries, the relatively large supply of tiger parts is presumed to be the result of poaching causing the prices of the contraband to skyrocket. It has been estimated that an entire tiger, when being utilized in traditional medicines, is valued in excess of $20,000 at the retail level.
Metaphysical Meanings… Deeper imagery is also associated with Tiger. As the lion symbolizes the sun, so the tiger symbolizes both the new and the full moon. This symbolic connection is partially based on tigers' habit of hunting at night and on both the black and gold coloring of the Bengal tiger and the moonlike hue of the Siberian In the lines, "Tyger, tyger, burning bright/In the forests of the night," the poet, William Blake, connects both of these ideas and leads us to a deeper meaning for Tiger. Night itself often symbolizes silence, a time of drawing inward. In sleep, we detach from the physical world and travel, through our dreams closer to the essence of our eternal, spiritual selves. The tiger, a solitary, silent hunter who stalks, rather than chases its prey, represents our quest for the silent peace of the soul. It symbolizes removing all distractions from the mind and being purely focused on the present moment.
Richard Parker “I beheld Richard Parker from the angle that showed him off to greatest effect: from the back, half-raised, with his head turned. The stance had something of a pose to it, as if it were an intentional, even affected, display of mighty art. And what art, what might. His presence was overwhelming, yet equally evident was the lithesome grace of it. He was incredibly muscular, yet his haunches were thin and his glossy coat hung loosely on his frame. His body, bright brownish orange streaked with black vertical stripes, was incomparably beautiful, matched with a tailor’s eye for harmony by his pure white chest and underside and the black rings of his long tail…But when Richard Parker’s amber eyes met mine, the stare was intense, cold and unflinching, not flighty or friendly, and spoke of self- possession on the point of exploding with rage.” (151)
Pi the Tiger “I was weeping because Richard Parker had left me so unceremoniously…That bungled goodbye hurts me to this day. I wish so much that I’d had one last look at him in the lifeboat, that I’d provoked him a little, so that I was on his mind. I wish I had said to him then—yes, I know, to a tiger, but still—I wish I had said, “Richard Parker, it’s over. We have survived. Can you believe it? I owe you more gratitude than I can express. I couldn’t have done it without you. I would like to say it formally: Richard Parker, thank you. Thank you for saving my life.” (286)