The Life of Pi, Chapter 78 (Excerpt)

by Yann Martel

…to be a castaway is to be caught up in grim and exhausting opposites.

When it is light, the openness of the sea is blinding and frightening.

When it is dark, the darkness is claustrophobic.

When it is day, you are hot and wish to be cool and dream of ice cream and pour sea water on yourself.

When it is night, you are cold and wish to be warm and dream of hot curries and wrap yourself in blankets.

When it is hot, you are parched and wish to be wet.

When it rains, you are nearly drowned and wish to be dry.

When there is food, there is too much of it and you must feast.

When there is none, there is truly none and you starve.

When the sea is flat and motionless, you wish it would stir.

When it rises up and the circle that imprisons you is broken by the hills of water, you suffer that peculiarity of the high seas, suffocation in open spaces, and you wish the sea would be flat again.