Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Richard Parker

My favorite character in Yann Martell's Life of Pi is Richard Parker the tiger. I've always thought the magnificent tiger's magnificent name adds a certain added oomph to the character. A tiger named Benny might not be as cool doing the same things a Richard Parker is doing.

But WOW. I found out there's a reason Yann Martell named Richard Parker so. Richard Parker is the name of several people in real life and fiction who became shipwrecked and subsequently were cannibalized by their fellow seamen. Yann Martell surmised "So many Richard Parkers had to mean something" and thus named his shipwrecked tiger Richard Parker.

Does Richard Parker the shipwrecked tiger gets cannibalized too? I'm not telling you. Go read the book! (If you haven't already). It's a 6-star, multiple re-read worthy book.

[Quote Wiki] Other unfortunate Richard Parkers:
  • In Edgar Allan Poe's only novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, published in 1838, Richard Parker is a mutinous sailor on the whaling ship Grampus. After the ship capsizes in a storm, he and three other survivors draw lots upon Parker's suggestion to kill one of them to sustain the others. Parker then gets cannibalized.
  • In 1846, the Francis Spaight foundered at sea. Apprentice Richard Parker was among the twenty-one drowning victims of that incident.
  • In 1884, the yacht Mignonette sank. Four people survived, drifted in a life boat, and finally killed one of them, the cabin boy Richard Parker, for food. This led to the R v Dudley and Stephens criminal case.
(Another Richard Parker was involved in the Spithead and Nore mutinies in 1797 and subsequently hanged, but not eaten.)


nref said...

you make me wanna read it!

Hidayah Ismawi said...

hey.. thanks.. always nice to meet other bookworms :)

MY LATEST ENTRY: Accidentally cheap..

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