One day a huge dorado jumps into the boat while chasing flying fish. Pi picks up the stunned fish, rejoicing, but Richard Parker sees the dorado in Pi’s hands and goes into an attack position. Pi fears he is about to be killed, but he stares Richard Parker straight in the eyes fiercely. After a few seconds the tiger turns away, defeated, and Pi throws him part of the dorado. After that Pi starts spending more time on the lifeboat and feels less afraid of Richard Parker.
Once again Pi’s acceptance of inevitable death leads him to take a rash action that ends up saving him. Richard Parker is an “omega” animal, like those Pi described in his earlier explanation of lion-taming. The tiger is naturally nervous and susceptible to manipulation by an alpha.