Life of Pi

Life of Pi

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Life of Pi Chapter 23 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Pi explains that he had kept his religious activities quiet, and his parents had no idea that he was now a Christian and Muslim as well. One day Pi was out with his parents enjoying the weather on a seaside esplanade when they were confronted (by coincidence) by Pi’s imam, priest, and pandit, the religious leaders with whom Pi had been practicing his Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism.
Pi’s parents are culturally Hindu but not personally religious, so even Pi’s devout Hinduism is of his own doing. This scene is comic and almost silly in its coincidence, as Martel brings all the religious leaders together to bicker with each other.
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Pi’s parents were culturally Hindu, but they were secular in their personal lives, so they were surprised to suddenly find out how religious their son was. The priest, imam, and pandit were also all shocked to find that Pi was not just a Christian, Muslim, and Hindu, but in fact all three at once. They each protested that it was not possible to believe in all three religions simultaneously, and they argued with each other and demanded that Pi choose between them.
Just as the adult Pi heaps spices onto his food, so young Pi enriches his “dry, yeastless factuality” with the “spices” of religious stories and myths. The idea of boundaries returns, as each religious leader has his own “territory” and bristles when its edges threaten to overlap another’s territory.
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Pi became embarrassed and quoted Mahatma Gandhi, saying that “All religions are true” and explaining that he was just trying to love God. The religious leaders were embarrassed by this, and Pi’s father took advantage of their silence to hurry the family off to get ice cream.
The religious leaders are each concerned with protecting the sole, exclusive truth, while Pi is more concerned with the beauty of each religion, and the different paths they take to loving God and others.
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Religion and Faith Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon