Life of Pi

Life of Pi

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Francis Adirubasamy Character Analysis

A friend of the Patel family who was a champion swimmer in his youth. Pi calls him Mamaji, which means “respected uncle,” and Mamaji teaches Pi to swim and to love the water. He is also responsible for Pi’s unusual name. Francis is the man who first tells Pi’s story to the author in India, promising that the tale is one to “make you believe in God.”

Francis Adirubasamy Quotes in Life of Pi

The Life of Pi quotes below are all either spoken by Francis Adirubasamy or refer to Francis Adirubasamy. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Survival Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Harcourt edition of Life of Pi published in 2001.
Author’s Note Quotes

He took in my line of work with a widening of the eyes and a nodding of the head. It was time to go. I had my hand up, trying to catch my waiter’s eye to get the bill.
Then the elderly man said, “I have a story that will make you believe in God.”

Related Characters: The Author (speaker), Francis Adirubasamy (speaker), Francis Adirubasamy
Page Number: x
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, the "author"--a stand-in for Yann Martel himself--meets with a man named Francis, who claims that he's heard a story that will convince the author that God exists. As we'll later see, Francis's story isn't actually about Francis at all--he's heard it from Mr. Pi Patel, whom we'll meet later on. Furthermore, the story is only indirectly about God, and isn't what you'd expect from such an introduction. In short, the wondrous story we're about to hear has been filtered through several different storytellers, making us wonder how accurate it is in the form in which we're hearing it, as any one of the storytellers along the way could have exaggerated or distorted it. (But this also brings up the idea of storytelling and relative "truth," a central theme of the novel.)

The passage is also important because it brings up themes of spirituality and faith. Martel doesn't endorse any particular religion, but his novel is intensely religious, asking readers to suspend their disbelief and embrace the truth of a fantastic story that probably isn't "true" on a literal level, but that certainly achieves a kind of truth on a spiritual or aesthetic level.


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Francis Adirubasamy Character Timeline in Life of Pi

The timeline below shows where the character Francis Adirubasamy appears in Life of Pi. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Author’s Note
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
In a local coffee house, the author met an old man named Francis Adirubasamy . Mr. Adirubasamy offered to tell the author a story “that will make you believe... (full context)
Chapter 3
Storytelling Theme Icon
...was a former champion swimmer. This man was named Francis Adirubasamy, but Pi called him Mamaji, which is similar to “uncle.” (full context)
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
Mamaji and Pi became very close, and Mamaji taught Pi how to swim. Pi came to... (full context)