Major Characters In Life Of Pi English Literature Essay

Piscine Molitor Patel is the protagonist and, for most of the novel, the narrator. In the chapters that framework the main account, Pi, as a shy, graying, middle-aged man, instructs the writer about his early child years and the shipwreck that modified his life. This narrative device ranges the audience from the truth. We have no idea whether Pi's account is correct or what items to believe. This impact is intentional; throughout Pi emphasizes the value of choosing the better history, believing that creativeness trumps cool, hard facts. As a child, he reads greatly and embraces many religions and their rich narratives offering meaning and dimensions alive. In his interviews with the Japanese investigators after his save, he offers first a lot more fanciful version of his time at sea. But, at their behest, then provides an alternative version that is more practical but eventually less appealing to both himself and his questioners. The structure of the book both illustrates Pi's defining feature, his reliance on and love of tales, and features the inherent troubles in trusting his version of events.

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Though the narrative jumps back and forth in time, the novel traces Pi's development and maturation in a normal bildungsroman, or coming-of-age report. Pi can be an anxious, outgoing, and excitable child, reliant on his family for security and advice. In university, his key concerns involve preventing his schoolmates from mispronouncing his name and learning up to he is able to about faith and zoology. But when the dispatch sinks, Pi is torn from his family and kept alone over a lifeboat with wildlife. The disaster serves as the catalyst in his mental expansion; he must now become self-sufficient. Though he mourns the loss of his family and worries for his life, he increases to the challenge. He locates a survival guide and emergency provisions. Questioning his own worth, he decides that his vegetarianism is an extravagance under the conditions and learns to fish. He capably helps to protect himself from Richard Parker and even assumes a parental marriage with the tiger, providing him with food and keeping him in-line. The destructive shipwreck becomes Pi into an adult, able to fend for himself out in the earth alone.

Pi's perception in God inspires him as a child and helps preserve him while at sea. In Pondicherry, his atheistic biology teacher issues his Hindu trust in God, making him realize the positive electric power of belief, the need to overcome the otherwise bleakness of the world. Motivated for more information, Pi starts training Christianity and Islam, noticing these religions all share the same base: belief in a loving higher power. His burgeoning need for spiritual interconnection deepens while at sea. In his first days and nights on the lifeboat, he almost offers up, unable to bear the loss of his family and unwilling to face the down sides that still await him. At that time, however, he realizes that the actual fact he is still alive means that God is with him; he has been given a wonder. This thought provides him power, and he decides to fight to remain alive. Throughout his excursion, he prays regularly, which gives him with solace, a sense of link with something increased, and ways to pass the time.

Richard Parker

Pi's partner throughout his ordeal at sea is Richard Parker, a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. Unlike many books in which pets speak or become humans, Richard Parker is portrayed as a real animal that functions with techniques true to his types. It can be difficult to accept that a tiger and a boy could exist over a lifeboat by itself, however, in the framework of the novel, it appears plausible. Captured as a cub, Parker grew up in the zoo and is familiar with a life in captivity. He is utilized to zookeepers training and providing for him, so he is able to respond to cues from Pi and send to his dominance. However, he's no docile house cat. He has been tamed, but he still functions instinctually, going swimming for the lifeboat in search of shelter and eliminating the hyena and the blind castaway for food. When the two wash through to the shore of Mexico, Richard Parker doesn't draw out his parting with Pi, he simply runs off in to the jungle, to never be seen again.

Though Richard Parker is quite fearsome, ironically his existence helps Pi stay alive. Exclusively on the lifeboat, Pi has many issues to handle as well as the tiger onboard: lack of food and water, predatory sea life, treacherous sea currents, and exposure to the elements. Overwhelmed by the circumstances and terrified of dying, Pi becomes distraught and unable to take action. However, he soon realizes that his most immediate danger is Richard Parker. His other problems now temporarily ignored, Pi manages, through several training exercises, to dominate Parker. This success provides him self confidence, making his other hurdles seem to be less insurmountable. Restored, Pi can take concrete steps toward guaranteeing his continued lifetime: searching for food and keeping himself determined. Nurturing and providing for Richard Parker keeps Pi active and passes the time. Without Richard Parker to task and distract him, Pi might have abadndoned life. After he washes up on land in Mexico, he thanks a lot the tiger for keeping him alive.

Richard Parker symbolizes Pi's most animalistic instincts. Out on the lifeboat, Pi must perform many actions to stay alive that he would have found unimaginable in his normal life. An avowed vegetarian, he must eliminate seafood and eat their flesh. As time advances, he becomes more brutish about any of it, tearing aside birds and greedily stuffing them in his mouth area, the way Richard Parker will. After Richard Parker mauls the blind Frenchman, Pi uses the man's flesh for bait and even eats a few of it, becoming cannibalistic in his unrelenting hunger. In his second storyline to the Japanese investigators, Pi is Richard Parker. He kills his mother's murderer. Parker is the version of himself that Pi has invented to make his account more palatable, both to himself and his audience. The brutality of his mother's death and his own surprising act of revenge are too much for Pi to cope with, and he finds it better to consider a tiger as the killer, alternatively than himself in that role.

Character List

Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) - The protagonist of the story. Piscine is the narrator for almost all of the book, and his account of his seven months at sea forms the majority of the storyline. He gets his unusual name from the French word for pool-and, more specifically, from a pool in Paris when a close family good friend, Francis Adirubasamy, adored to swim. Students of zoology and religion, Pi is deeply intrigued by the patterns and characteristics of animals and folks.

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Richard Parker - The Royal Bengal tiger with whom Pi stocks his lifeboat. His captor, Richard Parker, named him Thirsty, but a shipping clerk made a mistake and reversed their names. From then on, at the Pondicherry Zoo, he was known as Richard Parker. Weighing 450 pounds and about nine legs long, he kills the hyena on the lifeboat and the blind cannibal. With Pi, however, Richard Parker operates as an omega, or submissive, pet, respecting Pi's dominance.

Read an in-depth evaluation of Richard Parker.

The Creator - The narrator of the (fictitious) Author's Take note, who inserts himself in to the narrative at several things throughout the written text. Though the creator who pens the Author's Take note of never identifies himself by name, there are many clues that indicate it is Yann Martel himself, thinly disguised: he lives in Canada, has posted two books, and was motivated to write Pi's life story during a trip to India.

Francis Adirubasamy - The elderly man who tells the author Pi's story throughout a chance meeting in a Pondicherry restaurant. He trained Pi to swim as a kid and bestowed upon him his uncommon moniker. He arranges for the writer to meet Pi in person, to be able to get a first-person accounts of his strange and persuasive tale. Pi calls him Mamaji, an Indian term which means respected uncle.

Ravi - Pi's old brother. Ravi prefers activities to schoolwork which is very popular. He teases his young sibling mercilessly over his devotion to three religions.

Santosh Patel - Pi's dad. He once had a Madras hotel, but because of his deep interest in family pets made a decision to run the Pondicherry Zoo. A worrier naturally, he instructs his sons not only to care for and control wild animals, but to dread them. Though lifted a Hindu, he is not religious which is puzzled by Pi's adoption of several religions. The difficult conditions in India lead him to go his family to Canada.

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Gita Patel - Pi's cherished mother and protector. A booklet lover, she stimulates Pi to learn widely. Increased Hindu with a Baptist education, she does not subscribe to any religion and questions Pi's religious declarations. She talks her mind, permitting her husband know when she disagrees with his parenting techniques. When Pi relates another version of his account to his rescuers, she will take the area of Orange Juice on the lifeboat.

Satish Kumar - Pi's atheistic biology professor at Petit Sminaire, a secondary college in Pondicherry. A polio survivor, he's an odd-looking man, with a body designed just like a triangle. His devotion to the power of clinical inquiry and explanation inspires Pi to review zoology in college.

Father Martin - The Catholic priest who presents Pi to Christianity after Pi wanders into his chapel. He preaches a note of love. He, the Muslim Mr. Kumar, and the Hindu pandit disagree about whose religion Pi should practice.

Satish Kumar - A plain-featured Muslim mystic with the same name as Pi's biology teacher. He works in a bakery. Like the other Mr. Kumar, that one has a strong influence on Pi's academic ideas: his trust leads Pi to review religion at school.

The Hindu Pandit - Among three important spiritual information in the book. Never given a name, he is outraged when Pi, who was simply raised Hindu, commences doing other religions. He and the other two religious market leaders are quieted relatively by Pi's declaration that he just desires to love God.

Meena Patel - Pi's better half, whom the writer meets briefly in Toronto.

Nikhil Patel (Nick) - Pi's boy. He plays football.

Usha Patel - Pi's young girl. She is shy but very near to her daddy.

The Hyena - An unattractive, intensely violent pet. He control buttons the lifeboat before Richard Parker emerges.

The Zebra - A beautiful men Grant's zebra. He breaks his knee jumping in to the lifeboat. The hyena torments him and eats him alive.

Orange Drink - The maternal orangutan that floats to the lifeboat on a raft of bananas. She suffers almost humanlike bouts of loneliness and seasickness. When the hyena disorders her, she battles again valiantly but is nonetheless killed and decapitated.

The Blind Frenchman - A fellow castaway whom Pi meets by chance in the middle of the ocean. Motivated by cravings for food and desperation, he will try to wipe out and cannibalize Pi, but Richard Parker kills him first.

Tomohiro Okamoto - An official from the Maritime Section of japan Ministry of Carry, who is investigating the sinking of the Japanese Tsimtsum. Along with his helper, Atsuro Chiba, Okamoto interviews Pi for three hours and it is highly skeptical of his first profile.

Atsuro Chiba - Okamoto's assistant. Chiba is the greater na‡ve and trusting of both Japanese officers, and his inexperience at conducting interviews gets on his superior's nerves. Chiba will abide by Pi that the version of his ordeal with animals is the better than the main one with people.

The Cook - The individual counterpart to the hyena in Pi's second storyline. He is rude and violent and hoards food on the lifeboat. After he kills the sailor and Pi's mom, Pi stabs him and he dies.

The Sailor - The real human counterpart to the zebra in Pi's second story. He's young, beautiful, and unique. He talks only Chinese which is very sad and lonesome in the lifeboat. He broke his leg jumping off of the dispatch, and it becomes afflicted. The cook slashes off the lower leg, and the sailor dies little by little.


Themes, Motifs & Symbols


The Will to Live

Life of Pi is a tale about struggling to survive through seemingly insurmountable probabilities. The shipwrecked inhabitants of the tiny lifeboat don't simply acquiesce with their fate: they actively fight against it. Pi abandons his lifelong vegetarianism and eats seafood to maintain himself. Orange Juice, the peaceful orangutan, battles ferociously contrary to the hyena. Even the greatly wounded zebra battles to stay alive; his sluggish, painful struggle vividly illustrates the absolute strength of his life make. As Martel makes clear in his book, living creatures will often do extraordinary, sudden, and sometimes heroic things to survive. However, they will also do shameful and barbaric things if pressed. The hyena's treachery and the blind Frenchman's change toward cannibalism show precisely how far creatures should go when faced with the possibility of extinction. At the end of the novel, when Pi raises the opportunity that the fierce tiger, Richard Parker, is in fact an element of his own personality, which Pi himself is responsible for a few of the horrific situations he has narrated, the audience is forced to decide just what varieties of actions are appropriate in a life-or-death situation.

The Importance of Storytelling

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Life of Pi is a story within a tale within a story. The book is framed by a (fictional) be aware from the author, Yann Martel, who identifies how he first came to hear the great tale of Piscine Molitor Patel. In the construction of Martel's narration is Pi's fantastical first-person account of life on the wide open sea, which forms the bulk of the book. At the end of the book, a transcript extracted from an interrogation of Pi shows the possible "true" story within that history: that there have been no animals whatsoever, and that Pi had spent those 227 days with other human survivors who all eventually perished, leaving only himself.

Pi, however, is not really a liar: to him, the various types of his story each contain a different kind of real truth. One version may be factually true, however the other comes with an mental or thematic fact that the other cannot strategy. Throughout the book, Pi expresses disdain for rationalists who only put their beliefs in "dry, yeastless factuality, " when stories-which can impress and motivate listeners, and are destined to linger longer in the imagination-are, to him, infinitely superior.

Storytelling is also a way of survival. The "true" incidents of Pi's sea voyage are too horrible to contemplate immediately: any young boy would go insane if faced with the varieties of acts Pi (indirectly) instructs his integrators he has observed. By recasting his accounts as an unbelievable story about humanlike pets, Pi doesn't have to face the true cruelty human beings are actually with the capacity of. Similarly, by creating the type of Richard Parker, Pi can disavow the ferocious, violent aspect of his personality that allowed him to survive on the sea. Even this is not, technically, a lie in Pi's eyes. He believes that the tiger-like facet of his mother nature and the civilized, human aspect stand in tense opposition and infrequent partnership with one another, in the same way the guy Pi and the tiger Richard Parker are both foes and allies.

The Nature of Faith based Belief

Life of Pi begins with a vintage man in Pondicherry who instructs the narrator, "I have a tale that can make you believe in God. " Storytelling and spiritual opinion are two strongly linked ideas in the novel. Over a literal level, each of Pi's three religions, Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam, come with its own group of tales and fables, which are used to propagate the teachings and demonstrate the beliefs of the trust. Pi loves the prosperity of tales, but he also senses that, as Dad Martin promised him was true of Christianity, each of these experiences might simply be areas of a greater, universal storyline about love.

Stories and spiritual beliefs are also associated in Life of Pi because Pi asserts that both require trust for the listener or devotee. Astonishingly for such a religious youngster, Pi admires atheists. To him, the important thing is to trust in something, and Pi can appreciate an atheist's ability to trust in the absence of God with no concrete proof of that absence. Pi has only disdain, however, for agnostics, who claim that it is impossible to learn either way, and who therefore avoid making a definitive assertion on the question of God. Pi perceives this as proof a shameful insufficient creativeness. To him, agnostics who cannot make a leap of beliefs in either route are like listeners who cannot appreciate the non-literal real truth a fictional storyline might provide.


Territorial Dominance

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Though Martel's text message handles the seemingly boundless dynamics of the ocean, it also studies the strictness of limitations, borders, and demarcations. The careful manner in which Pi grades off his place and differentiates it from Richard Parker's is necessary for Pi's survival. Pets or animals are territorial animals, as Pi notes: a family group dog, for example, will shield its foundation from intruders as if it were a lair. Tigers, as we study from Richard Parker, are in the same way territorial. They indicate their space and define its limitations carefully, establishing total dominance over every rectangular inch of their area. To master Richard Parker, Pi must establish his control over certain zones in the lifeboat. He pours his urine over the tarp to specify some of the lifeboat as his territory, and he uses his whistle to ensure that Richard Parker continues to be within his chosen space. The tiny size of the lifeboat and the relatively large size of its inhabitants make for a crowded vessel. In such a restricted space, the demarcation of territory ensures a relatively peaceful relationship between man and beast. If Richard Parker is seen as an element of Pi's own personality, the notion that a specific boundary can be erected between the two represents Pi's need to disavow the violent, animalistic part of his dynamics.

Hunger and Thirst

Unsurprisingly in a book about a shipwrecked castaway, the individuals in Life of Pi are continuously fixated on water and food. Ironically, the lifeboat is bounded by food and water; however, the salty normal water is undrinkable and the food is difficult to capture. Pi constantly battles to land a fish or yank a turtle up over the medial side of the build, as he must steadily and consistently gather fresh drinking water using the solar stills. The repeated challenges against being hungry and thirst illustrate the pointed difference between Pi's past life and his current one on the boat. In urban towns such as Pondicherry, people are given like pets in a zoo-they never have to expend much work to acquire their sustenance. But on the open sea, it is up to Pi to fend for himself. His changeover from modern civilization to the greater primitive living on the open sea is designated by his attitudes toward fish: primarily Pi, a vegetarian, is reluctant to destroy and eat an pet animal. Only once the seafood is lifeless, looking as it can in a market, will Pi feel better. In the future, Pi's increasing comfort with eating meat alerts his embrace of his new life.


Throughout the book, people achieve comfort through the practice of rituals. Animals are animals of behavior, as Pi establishes early on when he records that zookeepers can notify if something is incorrect with their pets or animals just by noticing changes in their daily routines. People, too, become wedded to their regimens, even to the point of predictability, and develop stressed during times of change. While religious customs are a leading exemplory case of ritual in this novel, you'll find so many others. For instance, Pi's mother desires to buy cigarette smoking before planing a trip to Canada, for dread that she will not be able to find her particular brand in Winnipeg. And Pi can make it through his oceanic ordeal typically because he creates a series of daily rituals to maintain him. Without rituals, exercises, and habits, the novel implies, people feel uneasy and unmoored. Rituals give structure to abstract ideas and emotions-in other words, ritual is an alternate form of storytelling.



Piscine Molitor Patel's preferred moniker is more than just a shortened version of his given name. Indeed, the term Pi carries a sponsor of relevant organizations. It is a notice in the Greek alphabet that also includes alpha and omega, conditions used in the publication to denote dominating and submissive creatures. Pi is also an irrational numerical quantity, used to analyze distance in a group. Often shortened to 3. 14, pi has so many decimal places that the individual mind can't effectively comprehend it, equally as, the book argues, some realities are too difficult or troubling to face. These associations set up the character Pi as more than simply a sensible protagonist; he is an allegorical shape with multiple layers of interpretation.

The Color Orange

In Life of Pi, the colour orange symbolizes trust and survival. Just before the scene where the Tsimtsum sinks, the narrator identifies visiting the adult Pi at his home in Canada and getting together with his family. Pi's daughter, Usha, bears an orange cat. This moment assures the reader that the finish of the story, if unhappy, will never be a whole tragedy, since Pi is guaranteed to endure the catastrophe and father children of his own. The little orange kitten recalls the best orange cat, Richard Parker, who helps Pi make it through during his 227 days and nights at sea. As the Tsimtsum sinks, Chinese language crewmen give Pi a lifejacket with an orange whistle; on the boat, he confirms an orange lifebuoy. The whistle, buoy, and tiger all help Pi survive, equally as Orange Drink the orangutan offers a measure of psychological support that helps the son maintain hope when confronted with horrific tragedy.


Important Quotations Explained

1. I understand zoos are no more in people's good graces. Religion encounters the same problem. Certain illusions about flexibility plague them both.

Explanation for Quotation 1 >>

These words are spoken by Pi early on in Part One, at the end of section 4, after a long discourse of zoo enclosures. Mr. Patel, Pi has recently told us, operates the Pondicherry Zoo, a location that Pi considered heaven as a son. Pi has listened to many people say negative reasons for having zoos-namely that they deprive commendable, wild creatures of the freedom and trap them in boring, domesticated lives-but he disagrees. Wild animals in their natural habitat come across fear, fighting, lack of food, and parasites frequently. Given all these biological facts, animals in the open are not free at all-rather, they are subject to a stringent group of communal and natural regulations that they must follow or perish. Since pets are animals of behavior, zoo enclosures, with numerous food and water, clean cages, and a constant routine, are heaven on their behalf. Given the opportunity, Pi says, most zoo pets or animals never try to avoid, unless something in their cage frightens them.

We have already found that Pi studied zoology and religion at the University or college of Toronto, and the above quote demonstrates precisely how closely aligned both subjects are in his mind. He is quick to turn a discussion of animal independence into a metaphor for people's spiritual inclinations. Equally as people misunderstand the type of animals in the open, they also misunderstand what this means for a person to be "free" of any spiritual system of idea. The agnostic (somebody who is uncertain about the presence of god and does not sign up to any trust) may think he's at liberty to believe or disbelieve anything he wants, but in simple fact he does not allow himself to consider imaginative leaps. Instead, he endures life's ups and downs the way an animal in the open does indeed: because he has to. A person of faith, on the other hand, is similar to an animal in an enclosure, surrounded on all factors by a version of fact that is much kinder than reality itself. Pi embraces spiritual doctrine for the same reason he embraces the safety and security of your zoo enclosure: it makes life easier and more pleasurable.


2. I can well think about an atheist's previous words: "White, white! L-L-Love! My God!"-and the deathbed step of trust. Whereas the agnostic, if he stays true to his sensible do it yourself, if he stays on beholden to dry out, yeastless factuality, might try to clarify the warm light bathing him by stating, "Possibly a f-f-failing oxygenation of the b-b-brain, " and, to the very end, lack creativeness and skip the better report.

Explanation for Quotation 2 >>

Spoken by Pi, this quotation-chapter 22 in its entirety-emphasizes the important distinction between facts and imagination, the crux of the entire novel. Previously, in section 21, the writer used the phrases "dry, yeastless factuality" and "the better history" after a gathering with Pi in a caf; the repetition shows this dichotomy. Religion is aligned with creativeness, while lack of faith is linked to exact observation and rationalism. In short, Pi is giving us a straightforward, straightforward justification for the variants of his own story: the main one with pets and the one without.

The offer condemns those who lack artistry and creativeness, the inability to commit to a story. Pi himself is a consummate artist, a storyteller, and he feels all religions notify wonderful tales, though not literal truths. Pi believes that atheists (who do not have confidence in God) have the capacity to believe; they choose to think that God doesn't are present. By the end of these lives, they could embrace the notion of God and devise a tale that will help them pass away in peacefulness and contentment. Pi despises agnostics for their decision to make doubt a way of life. They choose to live a life a life of uncertainty, without any type of narrative to steer them. Without these experiences, our lifetime is "dry" and unpalatable as unrisen or "yeastless" bread.


3. [W]ithout Richard Parker, I wouldn't be alive today to tell you my tale.

Explanation for Quotation 3 >>

This collection is spoken by Pi about halfway through the book, in section 57. The "you" in this word is the author, to whom Pi relates his story during the period of many conferences in Canada many years after the ordeal. Needless to say, the "you" is also the audience, for Pi appreciates that he's telling his history to a writer who gets the intent to create. By this aspect, we realize that Richard Parker is a Royal Bengal tiger, a grown-up male, who weighs in at 450 pounds and occupies about one-third of the lifeboat. At first, it might sound ludicrous that such a menacing creature should get credit for keeping alive a slim, adolescent Indian youngster, but Pi explains himself compellingly. The occurrence of Richard Parker, though primarily terrifying, eventually soothes him and will save him from utter existential loneliness. In addition, the necessity of training and taking care of Richard Parker fills up Pi's long, empty days-staying busy helps time pass.

The quotation may also be considered in the context of Pi's second tale, the main one without animals, in which Pi himself is the tiger. Pi has chosen a tiger to represent himself due to its conflicting attributes: nobility and violence, grace and brute drive, intellect and instinct. In a way, these qualities are incredibly human. But over a day-to-day basis-for example, even as go to institution, drive to the supermarket, and watch Television at night-the elements of violence, brutality, and instinct are blunted. Rather than catching and eradicating seafood, we purchase plastic-wrapped filets; alternatively than hunt animals for meats, we buy steaks at the deli counter-top. Stripped of these conveniences, Pi must go back to dynamics and reassert his pet animal instincts. He must get over his squeamishness in order to consume. He must adopt aggression to be able to eliminate the cook who might otherwise have wiped out him. In crediting Richard Parker's living for his own survival, Pi acknowledges that it is animal instinct, not polite convention or modern convenience, that protects him from death.


4. Life on the lifeboat isn't much of a life. It really is like an end game in chess, a game with few parts. The elements couldn't be more simple, nor the stakes higher.

Explanation for Quotation 4 >>

This comment shows up about halfway through Part Two, as Pi adjusts to life at sea and philosophizes on the type of being a castaway. In an endgame in chess, the majority of the overall game has been played out out and a lot of the chess items knocked off the board.

Similarly, after the sinking of the Tsimtsum, only a small number of survivors (Pi, Richard Parker, Orange Juice, the Grant's zebra, the hyena) stay. The few that are kept are compelled into a tactical challenge of wits to see who'll finally prevail. The tensions between your lifeboat's inhabitants soon after the ship sinks are high; each inhabitant is aware that the overall game is "sudden death" and that all move must be looked at with special care. The zebra, the orangutan, and the hyena all make missteps and lose. But Pi painstakingly charts out his plan of action, and his diligence and foresight save his life.

Life on the lifeboat is easy, but, stripped of most else, the stakes become extensive: life or loss of life. Pi's life in the middle of the Pacific does not have any luxuries, no sophisticated processes to participate in, and no obscure signals to follow. Confronted with numerous physical dangers-Richard Parker, sharks, starvation, the blind castaway-his only choice is whether to fight to live or to quit and expire. Though he considers doing normally, Pi decides to fight.

The distilled quality of Pi's life is similar to the sort of bare-bones life lived by many religious mystics, for whom stripping down to the essentials is essential for communion with God. A full, varied life numerous distractions can cloud trust or even make it unneeded. However, within a spare and even monastic existence, God's occurrence becomes palpable. To place it another way, within the confines of a lifeboat, spirituality looms as large as a nearly 10-foot, 450-pound Bengal tiger.


5. The lower you are, the bigger your mind will want to soar.

Explanation for Quotation 5 >>

Pi narrates these words in section 93, toward the finish of his ordeal at sea so that he is reaching the depths of his despair. As Pi mentions just before this, his situation seems "as pointless as the weather. " Up to now, Pi's tiresome life at sea has been alleviated relatively with sporadic new activities: killing seafood, taming Richard Parker, creating drinkable drinking water using the solar stills, etc. More notably, the blind French castaway and the times spent on the floating island gave Pi an alteration in routine. But now the novelty has worn off. This section, where nothing is expected to happen, drives Pi into utter hopelessness, yet he must continue living.

At this aspect Pi transforms to God and, Martel signifies, invents the story that we have just read. His mind is desperate to flee the physical truth of continued lifestyle on the lifeboat, and so it soars into the world of fiction. At his least expensive point, Pi reaches for really the only remaining resources of salvation available to him: faith and imagination. Throughout the plot's remaining action, Martel emphasizes that such a strategy for self-preservation can in fact be astonishingly effective. Immediately after this moment in the text, Pi lands over a beach in Mexico. Just like a deus ex girlfriend or boyfriend machina abruptly offering resolution in an ancient Greek play, the religious beliefs of storytelling is Pi's get away hatch, rescuing him from the depths of his misery.

Key Facts

full subject · Life of Pi

author · Yann Martel

type of work · Novel

genre · Allegory; fable

language · English

time and place written · Investigated in India and Canada and written in Canada in the late 1990s

date of first publication · 2002

publisher · Canongate Catalogs Ltd.

narrator · Piscine Molitor Patel and the writer, Yann Martel

point of view · The prefatory Author's Notice is written in first person by the author, who clarifies how he emerged to hear the story we are going to read from Pi Patel himself. The accounts (Part One and Part Two) is informed in first person by Pi. The ultimate portion of the reserve (Part Three) is written mainly as a transcript of an conversation between Pi and two officials, bookended by first-person remarks from the writer.

tone · Crazy, surreal, ruminative, philosophical, and, at times, journalistic

tense · History tense

setting (time) · The writer tells Pi's storyline from an undetermined contemporary point, some years after the publication of his second publication in 1996. Pi's ordeal commences on July 2, 1977, and continues for 227 days.

setting (place) · Pi's boyhood home in Pondicherry, India; the Pacific Sea; Tomatln, Mexico; and, quickly, Toronto, Canada

protagonist · Piscine Molitor Patel

major issue · he Tsimtsum sinks, drowning Pi's whole family, the staff, and the majority of the family pets aboard. For a few months, Pi, plus a Royal Bengal tiger, must deal with for success aboard a lifeboat in the center of the Pacific Ocean

rising action · The Patel family places sail to Canada.

climax · The first climax is when the Tsimstum sinks and Pi's family dies, departing him alone with wild animals on the lifeboat. Another climax occurs when Pi lands in Mexico.

falling action · Pi is rescued in Mexico. Two Japanese officers interview him. His story is called into question.

themes · The ability of life's drive; the human desire for companionship; storytelling as a technique for self-preservation

motifs · Territorial dominance; hunger and thirst; rituals

symbols · Pi, the lifeboat, Richard Parker

foreshadowing · The starting pages of the booklet are supremely suspenseful, as the writer and Pi himself regularly make reference to some tragic event in Pi's life without actually naming it. Pi explains his gloomy mind-set after arriving in Canada and explains how his spiritual and zoological studies helped him to rebuild his life. But it is not until the Tsimtsum sinks in Part Two and Pi loses his family that people understand the source of his extreme anguish, though we do sense it coming all along.


1. So how exactly does the thought of survival play out in this wording?

Answer for Review Question 1 >>

Of central importance to this book is the theme of success, even in seemingly impossible and unfortunate circumstances. For Pi, the challenge of making it through operates on several levels. First, there is certainly the necessity of physical success: he must keep his body alive. This involves food and water, both in short supply, as well as security from the elements. Pi recognizes he must defend himself from the immediate danger, Richard Parker, but he's also aware that there surely is a whole variety of dangers waiting around to do him in. Sea storms, huge waves, sharks, sunstroke, dehydration, drowning-any and many of these things present a risk to his life. Pi's inventiveness and resourcefulness (he protects himself with damp clothes to protect his epidermis from sunlight and creates a raft from oars and lifejackets to keep him at a safe distance from both tiger and sharks) permit him to stay literally safe.

Second, and more challenging, is the necessity of emotional or religious survival-the undeniable fact that Pi must keep his spirits up or else succumb to despair. Pi says at several tips that Richard Parker helped him put up with; the presence of your friend (even an imagined one, in the non-animal version of the storyline) gives Pi mental durability, and certain requirements of looking after a tiger keep him occupied, avoiding him from pondering too much about his fate.

Biological survival-living a long life, raising a family group, and transferring ones genes down through the generations-represents the third level. Pi is the only real person in his family to survive the sinking of the Tsimtsum, and he is able to do so typically because he has inherited (from Mamaji) strong going swimming skills and an affinity for water. Now Pi must propagate the Patel collection. When we learn that Pi is a dad, the author says us, "This storyline has a happy finishing. " Finally, Pi achieves survival in every sense.


2. Exactly what does Pi make an effort to speak through his selection of the animals, apart from the tiger, with whom he shares the lifeboat?

Answer for Study Question 2 >>

The pets in the lifeboat embody qualities that signify their individuals counterparts. Orange Drink, the orangutan, is a motherly figure that represents Pi's own mom. Pi remembers how the gentle orangutan used to hold him when he was a son, picking at his mane to develop her maternal skills. When she defends herself from the hyena, Pi realizes that she's reservoirs of courage and fierceness. This interestingly revelation about her personality parallels Pi's shock in discovering his mother stand up courageously to the make meals.

The hyena, with its unsightly appearance and disgusting personal patterns, represents the make, whose greed, savagery, and cannibalism recognise him as a really evil number in the written text. Finally, the Grant's zebra can be an amazing creature, lovely to check out but foreign to Indian culture. The two Mr. Kumars who join Pi at the zoo haven't seen a zebra before and marvel at it. A zebra, therefore, acts as an excellent stand-in for the young China sailor who, although he will not speak Pi's terminology, exudes decency and natural splendor. It is specifically appalling for the make meals/hyena to desecrate such an innocent, stunning creature.


3. Discuss the importance of believability in this book.

Answer for Review Question 3 >>

Pi is a believer in the fullest sense of the term: he uses his logical intellect to use him so far as he is able to go and then he requires imaginative leaps. As Pi himself tells both Japanese representatives who interview him in Mexico, many things are difficult to trust, but we convince ourselves to do so nonetheless: "Love is hard to trust, ask any fan. Life is hard to trust, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, ask any believer. " We give ourselves to these fictions, these variations on certainty, because they provide us a reason to continue. Where is the enjoyment in a life deprived of relationship and love? Where is the self-awareness in a life that is merely a biological incident? Where is the comfort in an existence that has no rhyme or reason? A life that is completely rational or fact based is nearly not worthy of living. To Pi, and to anyone who thinks in things that he cannot necessarily see nor prove, trust is a bridge between the coldness of fact and the heat of emotion. The capability to believe is a hallmark of awareness and consciousness, one reason religions are so fiercely secured and so broadly practiced. To believe in something makes us feel more alive, more linked to the entire world around us, supplying structure to your understanding of the universe and our place in it in a manner that pure science, based mostly only on observation, never can.

Beyond portion as a foundational theme for the text, believability is crucial to the very structure of the novel. Even as Pi asks us to trust his animal account, Martel asks us to trust the storyplot he explains to, of getting together with Francis Adirubasamy and looking up Pi Patel in his Toronto phone e book. We, the reader, know these things didn't really happen to Martel, yet we suspend our disbelief to be able to become more wholly absorbed in the text. Martel's fictional account far rivals the truth, which is probable that he previously an idea, did his research, and then worked very difficult for weeks and months to write his novel. The novel commences with a supposedly nonfictional Author's Notice and ends with the transcript of the interview and the written text of an official report establishes the larger message that storytellers-both Pi and Martel included-require the audience's trust, or perception.


Suggested Essay Topics

1. Faith is of utmost importance to Pi. Discuss the role of religious beliefs in his life and exactly how it helps him endure his ordeal.

2. Naming and names are significant in this novel-Pi's own name is elaborately explained, and Richard Parker gets his name via a clerical error. How is naming relevant to the novel's main themes?

3. In light of the fact that this is a novel about imagination, how come Martel start with the Author's Note, which gives the impression that Pi's account is truth, not fiction?

4. A great way that Pi will keep himself sane and occupied while together in the center of the sea is by writing in his journal. Exactly what does his journaling say about the individuals dependence on communication?

5. The two Japanese officials who interview Pi don't believe he really got on a man-eating island. When they say that carnivorous trees and fish-eating algae do not exist, Pi responds, "Only because you've never seen them. " What does this exchange say about human understanding of what is real and possible?

6. Why does Pi give two accounts of his ordeal? That is the true report, and which one would you alternatively believe?

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