Life of Pi

Life of Pi

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Gita Patel Character Analysis

Pi’s mother. Gita is raised a Hindu and had a Baptist education, but she is nonreligious as an adult and questions Pi’s faith. Gita encourages Pi to read books as a youth. In Pi’s first story Gita dies when the Tsimtsum sinks, but in his second story she takes the place of Orange Juice the orangutan. She protects Pi from the French cook for as long as she can, but she is eventually murdered, decapitated, and eaten by the cook.

Gita Patel Quotes in Life of Pi

The Life of Pi quotes below are all either spoken by Gita Patel or refer to Gita Patel . 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.
Chapter 23 Quotes

The pandit spoke first. “Mr. Patel, Piscine’s piety is admirable. In these troubled times it’s good to see a boy so keen on God. We all agree on that.” The imam and the priest nodded. “But he can’t be a Hindu, a Christian and a Muslim. It’s impossible. He must choose…”
“Hmmm, Piscine?” Mother nudged me. “How do you feel about the question?”
“Bapu Gandhi said, ‘All religions are true.’ I just want to love God,” I blurted out, and looked down, red in the face.

Related Characters: Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) (speaker), Gita Patel (speaker), Gita Patel , Santosh Patel
Page Number: 69
Explanation and Analysis:

In this rather comedic scene, Pi--here, still a young man pre-shipwreck--goes with his parents to speak with his various religious leaders, who are concerned that Pi has dabbled in too many religions at once. Worried, the religious leaders insists that Pi must choose between them: Pi has been practicing as a Muslim, a Christian, and a Hindu all at once! Pi shyly insists that he sees the beauty in all religions, and just wants to love God--so why shouldn't he embrace them all at once?

Who's right here, Pi or the religious leaders? Most people choose one religion because it's enough to give them a sense of satisfaction and peace with regards to the universe's mysteries. Pi seems to have a looser, more experimental relationship with religion and truth, one based more on storytelling than fact. Pi recognizes that the stories of the various world religions have spiritual truth, even if they're not literally true. By the same token, Pi finds that he can embrace many different religions, looking past their literal rules to find true spiritual value. In short, Pi is a mystic and universalist who refuses any single identity--but he's surrounded by people who try to force him to choose one identity, thus excluding all others.

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Gita Patel Character Timeline in Life of Pi

The timeline below shows where the character Gita Patel appears in Life of Pi. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 16
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
Pi’s voice returns. He explains that he was raised a Hindu, mostly encouraged by his mother’s sister Auntie Rohini. He grew up with Hindu rituals starting as an infant, and he... (full context)
Chapter 33
Survival Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
...four random photos, one containing the mysterious Richard Parker. None of the pictures have Pi’s mother in them, and Pi says that he has started forgetting what his mother looks like. (full context)
Chapter 35
Boundaries Theme Icon
...a Japanese cargo ship called the Tsimtsum, departing on June 21st, 1977. Pi describes his mother’s sadness at leaving India, and how she tried to stock up Indian cigarettes (even though... (full context)
Chapter 75
Storytelling Theme Icon
On a day he estimates as his mother’s birthday, Pi sings “Happy Birthday” for her out loud. (full context)
Chapter 99
Survival Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
...his experience. In this second story, the four survivors on the lifeboat are Pi, his mother (who floated to safety on some bananas), the French cook, and a Chinese sailor. Pi... (full context)
Survival Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
Pi’s mother tended to the wounded sailor but his broken leg got worse, growing black and bloated.... (full context)
Survival Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
...the leg was for bait, and that “that was the whole point.” At this Pi’s mother realized that the cook tricked them into cutting off the sailor’s leg. The cook looked... (full context)
Survival Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
Pi’s mother screamed at the cook and then discovered that he had been stealing rations. Pi admitted... (full context)
Survival Theme Icon
Religion and Faith Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
The sailor died peacefully and the cook immediately butchered him, despite Pi’s mother’s protests. The cook used some of the flesh as bait and ate the rest. After... (full context)
Survival Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
After a while Pi and his mother grew more friendly with the cook, as he helped them to survive. One day when... (full context)
Survival Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
Boundaries Theme Icon
The cook butchered Pi’s mother and ate some of her flesh. Pi stayed on the raft for a day and... (full context)
Survival Theme Icon
Storytelling Theme Icon
...zebra corresponds with the Chinese sailor, the hyena with the cook, Orange Juice with Pi’s mother, and Richard Parker with Pi himself. Chiba asks Okamoto about the meerkats and the algae... (full context)