Pi is cured of his hopelessness and terror by Richard Parker himself. The tiger seems sated with rainwater and hyena, and he looks at Pi and makes a strange sound. Surprised, Pi recognizes this sound as prusten, a very rare noise that tigers sometimes make to express friendliness and peaceful intentions. At that moment Pi decides to tame Richard Parker. He knows that he cannot kill the tiger, so he resolves to live peacefully with him.
As if in answer to Pi’s extreme fear, Richard Parker suddenly reveals that his intentions are benign for now. Martel continues to blur the lines between human and animal, as the tiger acts almost rationally in agreeing to live in peace on the lifeboat.
Pi admits that part of him is glad that Richard Parker is still alive, as he is a companion and a distraction from grief and insanity. Pi then remembers everything he has learned about taming wild animals. He takes a whistle from one of the life jackets and shouts across the water about the “greatest show on earth,” standing and blowing the whistle to show his alpha status. The tigers roars angrily at the sound but then he backs away and lies down in the bottom of the lifeboat.
Richard Parker is a constant danger to Pi, but he also saves Pi’s life with his very presence. Pi now has a reason to live – to tame Richard Parker and live peacefully with him – and a constant distraction from the loss of his family and his own total isolation. All of Pi’s earlier digressions about animal-training now become important.