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Theme of Survival in the Seventh Man, Hunger Games and Life of Pi

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What is necessary, essential to survive these awful situations? Well, there are lots and lots of examples out there of things people have done to make it out of unfortunate circumstances and overcome obstacles to make their way back home. Whether it’s a film, or literature, or even a YouTube video, many people have worked to show their interpretation of these awful actions. The truth is, sometimes people have to to pretty extreme things in order to survive.

Finding resources (food, water, etc.) is essential, but it might be very difficult to do so. For example, in the novel “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins, the protagonist, Katniss, the female contestant representing District 12, had to walk downhill for miles and miles on end until she could find a clean source of water after she was put in the arena. On top of that, she almost died fighting someone to get medicine for her friend Peeta, who was the male contestant, and had been cut in the leg with a sword. If another example is needed, the main character in the short story “To Build a Fire” by Jack London severely under packed for his journey, and he paid the price, as he had very little food for the entirety of his ‘journey’. To be fair, some people might just get lucky, and find a bag full of food and fresh water, just laying out in the open, ready for them to take it. If that happens, the person probably just got lucky. Most people will actually have to work to obtain resources. It’s more likely than finding everything you need. Overall, if people don’t prepare themselves for the event of something happening, or don’t know how to find and get resources, they might be screwed.

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Occasionally, people will be forced to kill animals or even other people. Once again, Suzanne Collins represents this perfectly in “The Hunger Games”. Katniss is pretty much a professional hunter, meaning she can kill any animal she needs to eat relatively easily. She kills the rabbit to eat it with Rue, for example. As for people, she killed the boy from District 1 seconds after he killed Rue. Maybe she could’ve let him run away, but killing him is as understandable as killing a person gets. Rue was her only ally in the games at that time, and the boy had murdered her, just like that. Ang Lee’s film, Life of Pi, also features a few examples of these situations. Pi kills a few fish so he and Richard Parker (the tiger) can eat them in his first story. His second story is a bit more gruesome, as it features Pi killing and eating the man who may or may not have killed and eaten his mother. And yes, the eating part is true, you did not read that wrong. Pi needed to kill the fish, it was either that or starvation for both him and his tiger, presuming the tiger didn’t eat them. There’s an argument to be made that Pi should have left the guy alone instead of doing what he supposedly did. But if the story is true, Pi killed that guy not only because he was hungry, apparently, but also because he had in fact killed his mother. The truth is that people being in these circumstances is awful, and if they’re forced to do these horrendous things to survive, it’s often obvious that they had no choice.

One person’s actions might lead to someone else getting hurt or maybe even dying. “The Hunger Games” features Katniss dropping a nest of tracker jacker wasps on fellow contenders in an attempt to escape, ultimately getting 2 people killed. On top of that, Peeta had to step in and save her, which pretty much terminated his relationship with the Careers, as Cato cut through his leg with a sword and left him there to bleed out. And it all started with Katniss’ actions, even though she didn’t ask Peeta for help. To be fair, that was her best bet at survival in that situation, because the Careers were planning to kill her the next morning. She had to do it, or she would’ve been as good as dead. In Haruki Murakami’s short story, “The Seventh Man”, the main character (who is only referenced as ‘The Seventh Man’) asked his father to go out in the middle of the storm, and he did. Once outside, he ran into his friend K, who decides to tag along for a bit. The Seventh Man didn’t stop him, he didn’t even try. So naturally, when K dies right in front of him, he’s in shock and he feels guilty, like he could’ve helped. If I’m being honest, The Seventh Man probably thought they’d make it back to safety on time, and maybe his father shouldn’t have let him go out, but it was wrong for him to ask in the first place. From what we know, he was old enough to know how dangerous it was and he didn’t care. He just had to go walk around. Still, all of this shows that someone’s actions might cause an effect on someone else’s life and/or well-being, there’s no denying that, especially in these tough times.

It’s easy to criticize these people, but the truth is most of us luckily won’t be in the same position as them in the entirety of our lives, so we don’t know exactly how they felt when all of this happened and we don’t know how we’d react ourselves. Survival requires sacrifices and decision making that some people will interpret as wrong, and that’s okay. Not everyone has to have the same opinion. It is important to look at these events with a bit of context as to why they happened, rather than just saying, “Oh, that’s totally messed up!” when in reality we don’t know what we’re talking about and what these people went through. 

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