Life of Pi

Life of Pi

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Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) Character Analysis

The novel’s protagonist, Pi is born in Pondicherry, India and raised among wild animals, as his father is a zookeeper. Pi gets his unusual name from a famous swimming pool in Paris. He has a deep affinity with religion from a young age, and practices Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam. Pi is the narrator for most of the novel, as he tells the story of his 227 days stranded in the Pacific Ocean. During his ordeal Pi finds an incredible resourcefulness and survival instinct within himself, but he also stoops to gruesome acts in his desperation. After his rescue in Mexico, Pi attends the University of Toronto, where he studies zoology and religion. He marries and has two children, and the author declares that Pi’s story “has a happy ending.”

Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) Quotes in Life of Pi

The Life of Pi quotes below are all either spoken by Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) or refer to Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi). 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 1 Quotes

Sometimes I got my majors mixed up. A number of my fellow religious-studies students – muddled agnostics who didn’t know which way was up, who were in the thrall of reason, that fool’s gold for the bright – reminded me of the three-toed sloth; and the three-toed sloth, such a beautiful example of the miracle of life, reminded me of God.

Related Characters: Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) (speaker)
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, the author begins to interview Pi, the protagonist of the story. Pi explains that as a young man he was an excellent student: he studied both zoology and theology at university. Curiously, Pu thinks that theology and zoology aren't really that different--they're both about respect for the mysteries of the universe, whether the mystery of life (zoology) or existence itself (theology).

Pi is a thoughtful young man, adept at seeing the beauty in unfamiliar things and breaking down boundaries between seemingly disparate world-views. He can translate the strangest of phenomena into an intelligible, wondrous form. Pi doesn't try to "explain" the phenomena that he sees (here, for instance, he doesn't seem to try to break down the sloth's life into its biological explanations)--rather, he embraces the sloth in all its strange glory.

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Chapter 4 Quotes

Don’t we say, “There’s no place like home”? That’s certainly what animals feel. Animals are territorial. That is the key to their minds. Only a familiar territory will allow them to fulfill the two relentless imperatives of the wild: the avoidance of enemies and the getting of food and water. A biologically sound zoo enclosure – whether cage, pit, moated island, corral, terrarium, aviary or aquarium – is just another territory, peculiar only in its size and in its proximity to human territory.

Related Characters: Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) (speaker)
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Pi tries to defend the concept of zoos from critics who suggest that zoos are like prisons for animals. Pi claims that all beings on the planet need a familiar territory--they all need a home (he even quotes from The Wizard of Oz to make his point, reinforcing his novel's fantastic qualities). Therefore, it's not cruel at all to put an animal in a smaller-than-usual environment, provided all its needs are met--the animal appreciates its new boundaries and its new territory.

Pi's argument is especially interesting because it foreshadows his own time on the ocean, during which he'll have an incredibly small, limited set of boundaries (thanks to the presence of the tiger, Richard Parker). Pi has lived by his own argument: he's truly come to believe that people, as well as animals, need boundaries. As we'll come to see, Pi learns to embrace his own boundaries and find freedom in the "territory" of his mind and spirit.

In the literature can be found legions of examples of animals that could escape but did not, or did and returned… But I don’t insist. I don’t mean to defend zoos. Close them all down if you want (and let us hope that what wildlife remains can survive in what is left of the natural world). I know zoos are no longer in people’s good graces. Religion faces the same problem. Certain illusions about freedom plague them both.
The Pondicherry Zoo doesn’t exist any more. Its pits are filled in, the cages torn down. I explore it now in the only place left for it, my memory.

Related Characters: Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) (speaker)
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Pi continues to defend zoos (but also denies defending them) from accusations of cruelty and imprisonment. Zoos do not, he insists, imprison animals at all--rather, they at least protect them and allow them to live relatively normal lives by making them safe and giving them a stable, unchanging environment in which they can develop a new territory for themselves.

The passage is interesting in that it makes an analogy between zoos and the belief in God. Those who dismiss zoos as cruel and backwards are the same kinds of people, Pi suggests, who dismiss God. Just as God is the being who gives people boundaries and rules by which to live, the zoo gives animals boundaries in which they must survive. It's easy to dismiss God as a "tyrant," just as it's easy to say that boundaries of any kind are imprisoning--and yet Pi claims that some boundaries are vital to happiness and, ironically, to freedom.

Chapter 7 Quotes

It was my first clue that atheists are my brothers and sisters of a different faith, and every word they speak speaks faith. Like me, they go as far as the legs of reason will carry them – and then they leap.
I’ll be honest about. It is not atheists who get stuck in my craw, but agnostics. Doubt is useful for a while. We must all pass through the garden of Gethsemane… But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.

Related Characters: Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) (speaker)
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Pi remembers a teacher of his, years ago, who turned out to be an atheist. Pi was shocked by his teacher's atheism, but later, he came to terms with it--indeed, he came to think of atheism as having a lot in common with religion.

What could religion and atheism possibly have in common? Pi argues that atheists are just like Christians or Hindus: they've chosen to believe in something, to accept a worldview beyond the limits of reason (as there is no way to define to a certainty whether some kind of god exists or not). In essence, Pi embraces all belief systems as long as they embrace something--the one ideology he won't tolerate is the ideology of uncertainty, agnosticism (the skepticism of whether or not a god exists). Sooner or later, Pi insists, people have to come to terms with reality and believe in one, definite thing--they can't just keep changing their mind. Put another way, people can't realistically live their lives in a state of constant doubt--they have to choose a "story," whether that story involves God or not, and live according to its tenets.

Chapter 8 Quotes

We commonly say in the trade that the most dangerous animal in a zoo is Man.

Related Characters: Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) (speaker)
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:

This passage is important for a number of reasons. Pi is telling the author about his philosophy of animals. While many would say that tigers or lions are "dangerous," a moment's contemplation reveals that man is a far more destructive animal.

Notice what Pi is implying. First, man is an animal--just an instinctive, physical being. Second, Pi suggests that there's a commonality between animals and people--Pi's point will become crucial to the final chapters of the novel, when it's revealed that Pi has been blurring the distinctions between animals and people in his own life's story. In all, the passage foreshadows the ending of the novel, while also emphasizing man's savage, unpredictable nature.

Chapter 13 Quotes

So you see, if you fall into a lion’s pit, the reason the lion will tear you to pieces is not because it’s hungry – be assured, zoo animals are amply fed – or because it’s bloodthirsty, but because you’ve invaded its territory.

Related Characters: Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) (speaker)
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:

Here Pi puts forth more theories about animals and territories, further setting the scene for the "territory" he will inhabit on his lifeboat. Pi claims that in zoos, dangerous animals like tigers or lions would attack people only because they perceive people as invading their territory. Boundaries are a sacred right for all animals--an animal reacts immediately when someone starts to steal its space and upset the regularity of its life.

The passage reinforces the points Pi has been making about the value of boundaries. Most people would say that confining a person to a limited set of places is a form of imprisonment. Pi, on the other hand, sees such acts of confinement as a liberation. An animal, or a human being, embraces its home and its space, and indeed, it will defend its space from invaders of all kinds.

Chapter 22 Quotes

I can well imagine an atheist’s last words… and the deathbed leap of faith. Whereas the agnostic, if he stays true to his reasonable self, if he stays beholden to dry, yeastless factuality, might try to explain the warm light bathing him by saying, “Possibly a f-f-failing oxygenation of the b-b-brain,” and, to the very end, lack imagination and miss the better story.

Related Characters: Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) (speaker)
Page Number: 64
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, Pi goes off on a tangent (not the first, nor the last) about what it must be like for an agnostic to die. An agnostic, because of his constant doubting of both religion and atheism, would probably dismiss his dying experiences with psychological causes--when he saw the proverbial light, he would just suggest that he was hallucinating, not seeing his own entrance into Heaven (or accept his own journey to nothingness).

The passage reinforces why Pi has more respect for atheists than agnostics. Paradoxically, an atheist is more likely to make a "leap of faith," because an atheist at least believes in something, even if that something is rationality and reason--an agnostic, by contrast, hasn't committed to any worldview, and therefore will continue to doubt even on his deathbed. Note also that Pi continues to characterize religion as a "story"--whether or not a story is literally true, we should recognize, it can be productive to those who believe in it. Thus, the passage foreshadows Pi's theories of religion (and later his interpretation of the entire novel): even if a religion isn't literally true, it has redeeming spiritual value: the value of its "story."

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.

Chapter 38 Quotes

We left Manila and entered the Pacific. On our fourth day out, midway to Midway, we sank. The ship vanished into a pinprick hole on my map. A mountain collapsed before my eyes and disappeared beneath my feet. All around me was the vomit of a dyspeptic ship. I felt sick to my stomach. I felt shock. I felt a great emptiness within me, which then filled with silence.

Related Characters: Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) (speaker)
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:

In this abrupt, almost surreal section of the story, Pi describes how, during the course of a voyage with his family, his ship sank. Notice how little detail Pi provides about how the ship sank--in fact, he provides no detail whatsoever (an oversight that is, of course, completely intentional, as the "author" will ask Pi how his ship sank again before the book is over).

The spareness of Pi's prose during this passage emphasizes the violent unpredictability of the universe. One second, Pi and his family are sailing on a ship; the next, they're sinking--it's that simple. How do we make sense out of such a random series of events, out of uncontrollable acts of God or fate? With art and storytelling, Pi's life story seems to answer--fiction is the only way to create meaning in a meaningless world.

Chapter 45 Quotes

I didn’t have pity to spare for long for the zebra. When your own life is threatened, your sense of empathy is blunted by a terrible, selfish hunger for survival. It was sad that it was suffering so much… but there was nothing I could do about it. I felt pity and then I moved on. This is not something I am proud of. I am sorry I was so callous about the matter. I have not forgotten that poor zebra and what it went through. Not a prayer goes by that I don’t think of it.

Related Characters: Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) (speaker), The Zebra
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Pi experiences a turning point in his coming-of-age. Suddenly stranded at sea, Pi witnesses two of the animals trapped with him, a hyena and a zebra. The hyena has attacked the zebra, and the zebra, wounded but still alive, writhes in pain. Pi is sorry for the zebra, but he doesn't have the luxury of compassion at this time--he has to focus on his own survival first, and compassion comes later.

Pi is an enormously compassionate person, but at the end of the day he's also a human being--which is to say, he instinctively cares about his own survival above anything else. Pi wants to cling to life in a deadly situation; thus, he ignores the zebra for the time being. In the process, Pi's notions of nature and beauty are changing rapidly. Nature, symbolized by the zebra and hyena, proves itself to be savage and self-destructive--thus, Pi is miles away from the calm, innocent beauty of the zoo and religious stories.

Chapter 49 Quotes

To be afraid of this ridiculous dog when there was a tiger about was like being afraid of splinters when trees are falling down. I became very angry at the animal. “You ugly, foul creature,” I muttered. The only reason I didn’t stand up and beat it off the lifeboat with a stick was lack of strength and stick, not lack of heart.

Did the hyena sense something of my mastery? Did it say to itself, “Super alpha is watching me – I better not move?” I don’t know. At any rate, it didn’t move.

Related Characters: Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) (speaker), Richard Parker , The Hyena
Page Number: 136
Explanation and Analysis:

In this interesting passage, Pi comes to realize that his problems are bigger than he thought. There's a huge tiger, Richard Parker, in his boat, hidden beneath a tarp. The tiger is an enormous, dangerous animal--the other animal on his boat, a hyena, is tiny and pathetic by contrast. Pi begins to despise the hyena, and even imagines beating it away with a stick out of pure anger and disgust.

The passage shows Pi beginning to master his surroundings. Paradoxically, his awareness of a greater danger--the tiger--helps him gain more control over the smaller, more manageable dangers in his life, such as the hyena. Critics have interpreted Pi's boat as a metaphor for the human consciousness (a fact signaled by the original cover art for the book). Thus, one could say that Pi, the rational human, being learns to master his own anxieties and neuroses (the hyena) by accepting the fact of his own inevitable death (symbolized by the tiger).

Chapter 53 Quotes

I was giving up. I would have given up – if a voice hadn’t made itself heard in my heart. The voice said, “I will not die. I refuse it. I will make it through this nightmare. I will beat the odds, as great as they are. I have survived so far, miraculously. Now I will turn miracle into routine. The amazing will be seen every day. I will put in all the hard work necessary. Yes, so long as God is with me, I will not die. Amen.”

Related Characters: Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) (speaker)
Page Number: 148
Explanation and Analysis:

Pi, still stranded in a tiny boat, here comes to terms with his own death--but then resolves to struggle against it to the last. He's trapped only a few feet from a huge tiger, Richard Parker, that could easily kill him. Pi is frightened and sure that he's going to die. Yet paradoxically, in the very instant that Pi comes to accept the fact that he will die, he suddenly finds the inner strength to fight for his life--and, in the end, he survives his time on the boat.

The irony of the passage is that Pi finds the courage to survive because he accepts that he's going to die. Pi is a tremendously brave, courageous person. Because he has so much control over his thoughts and feelings, he can calm himself, even in times of crisis. The overall message of the passage is that accepting one's death and giving up are not the same thing at all. On the contrary, Pi begins with death, and then moves past it. He's a gifted reader and storyteller who's used to accepting the impossible in fiction and religion--and here, Pi will put his imaginative powers to use, envisioning a future in which he survives his time at sea (and, in light of the novel's ending, even reimagines his time at sea itself).

Chapter 57 Quotes

I had to tame him. It was at that moment that I realized this necessity. It was not a question of him or me, but of him and me. We were, literally and figuratively, in the same boat. We would live – or die – together…
But there’s more to it. I will come clean. I will tell you a secret: a part of me was glad about Richard Parker. A part of me did not want Richard Parker to die at all, because if he died I would be left alone with despair, a foe even more formidable than a tiger. If I still had the will to live, it was thanks to Richard Parker… It’s the plain truth: without Richard Parker, I wouldn’t be alive today to tell you my story.

Related Characters: Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) (speaker), Richard Parker
Page Number: 164
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Pi gives arguably his most eloquent explanation of what Richard Parker truly represents. As dangerous as Richard Parker the tiger might be, Pi admits that he wanted to keep him alive--he and Richard Parker were two sides of the same coin, trapped in the same place. Without Richard Parker, Pi would have no companion--thus, he respected Richard Parker and accepted that Richard Parker was a part of him.

The passage is also one of the best pieces of evidence that Pi and Richard Parker, trapped in the boat together, symbolize the workings of the human mind (and in the "reinterpreted" version of events at the novel's end, Richard Parker truly is a representative of Pi's survival instincts and "savage" self). Pi cannot sever himself from his own aggressive instincts--just as rationality and aggression, ego and id, are just different parts of the same person. In general, Pi emphasizes the importance of connection and cooperation: it is human nature to look for friendship and connection, even in a tiger--indeed, connection is a basic human need, as basic as food or shelter. So even if Richard Parker doesn't literally exist in the final, factual version of events, the story of and belief in his existence is what truly kept Pi alive during his incredible ordeal.

Chapter 61 Quotes

You may be astonished that in such a short period of time I could go from weeping over the muffled killing of a flying fish to gleefully bludgeoning to death a dorado. I could explain it by arguing that profiting from a pitiful flying fish’s navigational mistake made me shy and sorrowful, while the excitement of actively capturing a great dorado made me sanguinary and self-assured. But in point of fact the explanation lies elsewhere. It is simple and brutal: a person can get used to anything, even to killing.

Related Characters: Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) (speaker)
Page Number: 185
Explanation and Analysis:

As Pi spends more time on the boat, he becomes a vastly different person. Previously, Pi was a pacifist--now, he's forced to kill fish for his food. At first, Pi kills the fish regretfully--but quickly, he learns to enjoy the act of violence required to kill a big dorado fish. The message is clear enough: all people, even someone as calm and peaceful as Pi, have the potential to do violence to others. Violence and aggression are as basic a part of human nature as tranquility or rationality.

The passage suggests the way that Pi and Richard Parker are merging with one another during their time on the boat: Pi is becoming a little more aggressive and violent, while Richard is becoming a little tamer and more cooperative.

Chapter 65 Quotes

Lord, to think I’m a strict vegetarian. To think that when I was a child I always shuddered when I snapped open a banana because it sounded to me like the breaking of an animal’s neck. I descended to a level of savagery I never imagined possible.

Related Characters: Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) (speaker)
Page Number: 197
Explanation and Analysis:

Pi continues to describe the way that he survived on the boat. He became a fisherman, catching fish and other sea creatures in order to feed himself (and feed Richard Parker the tiger). Pi is devastated and ashamed of what he did on the boat: he was always raised to be peaceful and gentle, to the point where the slightest hint of pain or violence made him cringe. Now, Pi has become the thing he hates most: a violent "savage."

For many readers, of course, Pi's supposed acts of violence aren't really that bad: he's killing to survive. Yet Pi, because he's been a pacifist all his life, is shocked by what he's capable of on the boat. Perhaps Pi is shocked by how much he enjoys killing fish and surviving off of the death of others--not the literal act of eating meat. By savoring the act of bludgeoning a fish to death, Pi proves that being aggressive and "savage" is a constant part of human nature (as potentially represented in the very figure of Richard Parker).

Chapter 74 Quotes

Despair was a heavy blackness that let no light in or out. It was a hell beyond expression. I thank God it always passed. A school of fish appeared around the net or a knot cried out to be reknotted. Or I thought of my family, of how they were spared this terrible agony. The blackness would stir and eventually go away, and God would remain, a shining point of light in my heart. I would go on loving.

Related Characters: Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) (speaker)
Page Number: 209
Explanation and Analysis:

In these chapters, Pi crafts his own religion--a religion that focuses on the day-to-day"rituals" of fishing, eating, and generally surviving in his desperate circumstances, and revolves around the acceptance of one's fate in life. Pi endures great despair during his time on the raft--there are many times when he's sure he's going to die, or is simply depressed at being so alone. But he always turns to God in his times of darkness: Pi's faith in the existence of God gives him the confidence to continue fishing and waiting for a rescue boat.

The passage shows the relationship between survival and religion. Whether or not it's literally true that God exists, the belief in God is an important survival mechanism: Pi needs to believe in something larger than himself in order to find the strength to save his own life. Some people criticize religion for being nonsensical or irrational, but the passage suggests that religion is actually the most practical thing in the world: it's a way to inspire people to keep on living, and to give their lives meaning.

Chapter 78 Quotes

Life on a lifeboat isn’t much of a life. It is like an end game in chess, a game with few pieces. The elements couldn’t be more simple, nor the stakes higher. Physically it is extraordinarily arduous, and morally it is killing… You get your happiness where you can. You reach a point where you’re at the bottom of hell, yet you have your arms crossed and a smile on your face, and you feel you’re the luckiest person on earth. Why? Because at your feet you have a tiny dead fish.

Related Characters: Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) (speaker)
Page Number: 217
Explanation and Analysis:

As Pi's time in the lifeboat goes on, he becomes more aware of the spiritual dimensions of his existence. His entire life is only a few "moves" from death--a couple bad days of fishing and he'd starve to death. And yet Pi's "imprisonment" on the life raft is a blessing as well as a curse. The very danger and frugality of Pi's existence puts him in touch with the spiritual side of existence, removing all external distractions and teaching him to savor the tiny pleasures of pure survival, such as catching a "tiny dead fish." Pi goes through a series of incredible challenges and dangers--and yet there's a grander point to the dangers he faces. His time on the boat teaches him to embrace life in all its complexity and ugliness, and to truly be confirmed in his belief that life itself has meaning and value.

Chapter 80 Quotes

For two, perhaps three seconds, a terrific battle of minds for status and authority was waged between a boy and a tiger. He needed to make only the shortest of lunges to be on top of me. But I held my stare.
Richard Parker licked his nose, groaned and turned away. He angrily batted a flying fish. I had won…
From that day onwards I felt my mastery was no longer in question, and I began to spend progressively more time on the lifeboat… I was still scared of Richard Parker, but only when it was necessary. His simple presence no longer strained me. You can get used to anything – haven’t I already said that? Isn’t that what all survivors say?

Related Characters: Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) (speaker), Richard Parker
Page Number: 222-223
Explanation and Analysis:

In this chapter, Pi faces off against Richard Parker, and wins. Having just caught a dorado (fish) that jumped into the boat, Pi stares Richard Parker (who's suddenly gone into attack position) in the eyes, knowing that there's a good chance he could be killed and eaten in competition for the fish. Yet Pi's reckless bravery and willingness to sacrifice his life intimidates Richard Parker into submission, reaffirming Pi as the "alpha" on the lifeboat.

Pi here further learns to control the "territory" of the lifeboat, dominating Richard Parker with his own confidence and bravery. By the same token, Pi learns to master his own fears and anxieties, again transcending death by accepting death. The passage closes by reinforcing something we already knew: Pi is the ultimate adapter. He embraces multiple religions at once, and learns to control Richard Parker because of his fundamental desire to survive. In short, Pi learns to carve out a place for himself in the universe, rather than accept defeat and die.

Chapter 82 Quotes

It came as an unmistakable indication to me of how low I had sunk the day I noticed, with a pinching of the heart, that I ate like an animal, that this noisy, frantic, unchewing wolfing-down of mine was exactly the way Richard Parker ate.

Related Characters: Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) (speaker), Richard Parker
Page Number: 225
Explanation and Analysis:

Here Pi again reaches a moment self-awareness. He's been fighting against Richard Parker throughout the novel--but here, he realizes that he is becoming Richard Parker. In other words, Pi is becoming an animal--wild, selfish, violent, etc.--in the process of trying to survive.

It's important to note that Pi's "sins" don't seem all that bad. Pi hasn't hurt anyone or threatened anyone. The change he's describing is mental and psychological, not external. The broader irony here is that Pi has learned to dominate Richard Parker by showing that he's not afraid of death--yet in the process, he's fallen to Richard Parker's level (and in one interpretation, he's always been Richard Parker). Pi holds himself to the highest standards, even when he's stranded at sea; he refuses to accept his own inner greed, even when a little greed seems totally appropriate.

Chapter 85 Quotes

I was dazed, thunderstruck – nearly in the true sense of the word. But not afraid.
“Praise be to Allah, Lord of All Worlds, the Compassionate, the Merciful, Ruler of Judgment Day!” I muttered. To Richard Parker I shouted, “Stop your trembling! This is miracle. This is an outbreak of divinity. This is… this is…” I could not find what it was, this thing so vast and fantastic… I remember that close encounter with electrocution and third-degree burns as one of the few times during my ordeal when I felt genuine happiness.

Related Characters: Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) (speaker), Richard Parker
Page Number: 233
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Pi thinks he's getting a sign straight from God--a bolt of lightning that strikes the surface of the ocean in the middle of a storm. Richard Parker the tiger is frightened of the lightning--a purely instinctual, self-interested beast, Richard naturally recoils from such a dangerous natural phenomenon. Pi is a different kind of creature altogether: because he lives so close to death, and in some ways has accepted the inevitability of his own death, he embraces the savage beauty of the bolt of lightning, and even gets happiness and a sense of the religious "sublime" from witnessing it.

Even in the midst of a crisis, Pi is a curious person. He respects the beauty of the universe in all its forms, even when the "beauty" comes in an unusual or terrifying form (a tiger, a lightning storm, etc.). He sees God in the most unlikely of places, and gets great pleasure from doing so--experiencing joy in seeing that there is something larger than himself, forces far more powerful and vast than his own tiny lifeboat.

Chapter 92 Quotes

By the time morning came, my grim decision was taken. I preferred to set off and perish in search of my own kind than to live a lonely half-life of physical comfort and spiritual death on this murderous island.

Related Characters: Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Algae Island
Page Number: 283
Explanation and Analysis:

In one of the strangest chapters in the book, Pi finds a temporary home on a floating island made entirely of algae, and inhabited only by docile meerkats. On the island, life is easy--there's plentiful food and placid beauty everywhere Pi looks. And yet Pi eventually comes to see through the shallow pleasures of the island. At night, the island becomes a dangerous place, its algae-filled ponds turning acidic and dissolving anyone or anything ignorant enough to swim in them. The island itself is carnivorous, and Pi even finds proof (in the "tooth tree") that another human has been killed by it before. Pi could live on the island, always avoiding the ponds and returning to the lifeboat at night. But instead of living such a stunted, fearful life, he decides to return to his boat and search for human contact once again.

What does the algae island symbolize? Critics have suggested that the island is a symbol of the shallowness of physical pleasure. There is no such thing as a "free lunch"--even the seemingly endless joys of the algae island inevitably "dissolve" (literally) into suffering and death. Life itself, Pi seems to conclude, is a dangerous place. The only way to redeem life, then, is to seek out spiritual or emotional enlightenment through interpersonal connection. (Notice that the island episode also mirrors the Biblical story of the Garden of Eden--Pi leaves terrestrial paradise when he achieves knowledge of death.)

Chapter 93 Quotes

High calls low and low calls high. I tell you, if you were in such dire straits as I was, you too would elevate your thoughts. The lower you are, the higher your mind will want to soar. It was natural that, bereft and desperate as I was, in the throes of unremitting suffering, I should turn to God.

Related Characters: Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) (speaker)
Page Number: 283
Explanation and Analysis:

Here Pi describes what his life was like after he left the island of algae. He doesn't give many details, having already offered much description of his daily rituals of survival, but he makes a profound point about God and sadness. It's the lowest, most miserable people who turn to God first, he argues. The very practice of worshipping God, one could say, is a product of sadness and suffering: people in the throes of despair want to believe that their lives have meaning, and so they turn to religion.

Pi's religious faith is tested many times during the novel, and yet instead of doubting God, Pi reshapes his religion in response to each new challenge. He's the very embodiment of humanity's capacity to survive and maintain its sanity through hope, resourcefulness, and creativity.

Chapter 99 Quotes

“If you stumble at mere believability, what are you living for? Isn’t love hard to believe?... Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, ask any believer. What is your problem with hard to believe?”
“We’re just being reasonable.”
“So am I! I applied my reason at every moment… Nothing beats reason for keeping tigers away. But be excessively reasonable and you risk throwing out the universe with the bathwater.”

Related Characters: Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) (speaker), Tomohiro Okamoto (speaker), Tomohiro Okamoto
Page Number: 297-298
Explanation and Analysis:

In this crucial section of the book, Pi is confronted by a two interviewers who want to know how a young man could survive such an incredibly long and dangerous journey across the oceans. The interviewers find it nearly impossible to believe that anyone could survive in a boat with a tiger. Pi fends off the interviewers' criticisms for a while--but then he becomes exasperated. There's no point, he insists, in poking holes in the truth of his story. His story might not be totally reasonable, he admits, but it's still a good story.

Pi's defense is as interesting for what it doesn't say as for what it says. Pi never claims that his story is literally true--indeed, he even hints that he's been making up the story all along. And yet he makes an eloquent argument for the usefulness of believing in his story: people need to maintain their faith and their sense of wonder and meaning. To rely too excessively on truth and science, as the interviewers do, is to lose one's reason to live--to throw out the whole "universe with the bathwater."

“So tell me, since it makes no factual difference to you and you can’t prove the question either way, which story do you prefer? Which is the better story, the story with animals or the story without animals?”
Mr. Okamoto: “That’s an interesting question…”
Mr. Chiba: “The story with animals.”
Mr. Okamoto: “Yes. The story with animals is the better story.”
Pi Patel: “Thank you. And so it goes with God.”

Related Characters: Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) (speaker), Tomohiro Okamoto (speaker), Atsuro Chiba (speaker), Tomohiro Okamoto, Atsuro Chiba
Page Number: 317
Explanation and Analysis:

Here Pi has revealed a surprising twist: the story of the animals (i.e., the book we're almost finished reading) was never exactly "true." In other words, the story of Pi and Richard Parker may have been a metaphor for what literally happened--Pi was stranded on the lifeboat with a group of other people, who turned to increasingly violent and dangerous means to survive. It's possible that Pi was so disturbed by what he's witnessed on the boat, and by his own actions, that he transforms his experiences into a more satisfying story of animals--i.e., creatures who aren't answerable to the law or to religion for their acts of violence.

In the true climax of the novel, Pi's interviewers are faced with a tough decision: print the story of how Pi came to be stranded in a boat with people, or print the story of how Pi survived with animals. In the end, they choose the story of the animals, because it is a "better" story.

What makes the story of the animals "better?" In the absence of total knowledge (i.e., the interviewers can't possibly know for sure which story actually happened, as Pi is the only survivor) they choose to embrace spiritual truth, with some redeeming religious value, rather than literal truth, which reveals nothing but the ugliness of human nature. The passage sums up everything the novel has been suggesting about the value of religion and storytelling. Reality is ugly and often depressing--stories, by contrast, have the power to inspire humans to achieve better and behave better. This idea of choosing to believe the "better story" is then intimately equated with religion, particularly in Pi's words--"so it goes with God."

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Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) Character Timeline in Life of Pi

The timeline below shows where the character Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi) appears in Life of Pi. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Author’s Note
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...story. The author then returned to Canada and found the protagonist of Mr. Adirubasamy’s story, Mr. Patel . The author began visiting Mr. Patel and taking notes. (full context)
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Mr. Patel showed the author old newspaper clippings about the events of the story, and also let... (full context)
Chapter 1
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The novel’s main text begins with the adult Pi speaking of his life after the story’s main event. His suffering left him “sad and... (full context)
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Pi found studying sloths to be comforting because of their slow, calm lifestyles. Sloths are kept... (full context)
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Pi describes his initial recovery in Mexico after the events of the story. He was treated... (full context)
Chapter 2
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The narrative switches to the author’s point of view, and he describes the adult Pi as a small, gray-haired, middle-aged man. He wears a winter coat in the fall and... (full context)
Chapter 3
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The story then continues in Pi’s voice. He reflects on his name, which is Piscine Molitor Patel, and says that he... (full context)
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Mamaji and Pi became very close, and Mamaji taught Pi how to swim. Pi came to share Mamaji’s... (full context)
Chapter 4
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Pi’s father ran the Pondicherry Zoo, which was founded soon after Pondicherry entered the Union of... (full context)
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Pi defends zoos against people who feel that animals in the wild are happier. He argues... (full context)
Chapter 5
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Pi reflects further on his name and all the teasing he got as a child because... (full context)
Chapter 6
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The author interrupts again to say that the adult Pi is an excellent cook, and he makes very spicy vegetarian food. The author has noted... (full context)
Chapter 7
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The narrative returns to Pi’s voice. Pi describes his biology teacher, Mr. Satish Kumar. Mr. Kumar was an atheist and... (full context)
Chapter 8
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Pi relates the saying that “the most dangerous animal in a zoo is Man,” and describes... (full context)
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One day Pi’s father decided to show Pi and his older brother Ravi about the dangers of wild... (full context)
Chapter 9
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Pi describes the idea of “flight distance,” which is how far away a human can be... (full context)
Chapter 10
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Pi admits that there are still some animals who escape or try to escape from zoos.... (full context)
Chapter 11
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Pi describes the case of a black leopard who escaped the Zurich Zoo and lived in... (full context)
Chapter 12
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The author interrupts again to explain how the adult Pi’s tales are still interrupted by his own memories. The author says that “Richard Parker still... (full context)
Chapter 13
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Pi expounds on the idea of territoriality in animals. He says that if you fall into... (full context)
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Pi describes the concept of alpha animals (dominant leaders) and beta animals (the rest of the... (full context)
Chapter 14
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Pi says that the lowest animal, the “omega,” has the most to gain by having a... (full context)
Chapter 15
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The author returns to describe the adult Pi’s house in Canada. He says the house is like “a temple,” as it is filled... (full context)
Chapter 16
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Pi’s voice returns. He explains that he was raised a Hindu, mostly encouraged by his mother’s... (full context)
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Pi describes the beautiful, pantheistic aspects of Hinduism, and how its followers seek to become liberated... (full context)
Chapter 17
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Pi describes his introduction to Christianity. When he was fourteen he was on a holiday in... (full context)
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Pi began returning to visit Father Martin, and the priest told him the story of Jesus.... (full context)
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After three days Pi found himself thinking constantly about Jesus. At first he was angry at the idea of... (full context)
Chapter 18
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Less than a year later Pi converted to Islam as well. He was exploring the Muslim quarter of Pondicherry, and he... (full context)
Chapter 19
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Pi went back to see the baker and asked him about Islam. The baker described the... (full context)
Chapter 20
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Pi says that the baker was a Sufi, a Muslim mystic. His name was Satish Kumar... (full context)
Chapter 21
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The author sits in a café after talking with the adult Pi, and he thinks about their conversation. He notes Pi’s words about “dry, yeastless factuality” and... (full context)
Chapter 22
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Pi goes back to narrating. He imagines an atheist’s deathbed moments, and describes the atheist taking... (full context)
Chapter 23
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Pi explains that he had kept his religious activities quiet, and his parents had no idea... (full context)
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Pi’s parents were culturally Hindu, but they were secular in their personal lives, so they were... (full context)
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Pi became embarrassed and quoted Mahatma Gandhi, saying that “All religions are true” and explaining that... (full context)
Chapter 24
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After this episode Pi’s brother Ravi would tease him mercilessly for his religious activities, suggesting that Pi also become... (full context)
Chapter 25
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Pi reflects on how the episode with the religious leaders was symbolic of the problems with... (full context)
Chapter 26
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A few days later Pi asked his parents if he could be baptized and buy a prayer rug. They were... (full context)
Chapter 27
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That night Pi overheard his parents talking about his new faiths. They then discussed Mrs. Gandhi, the current... (full context)
Chapter 28
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Pi got his prayer rug and came to cherish it. He liked to pray on it... (full context)
Chapter 29
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Pi explains the political climate of the time – the 1970s were a bad period in... (full context)
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Eventually Pi’s parents decided that the zoo could not remain profitable in such a political climate, and... (full context)
Chapter 30
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The author interrupts again to describe his meeting with Pi’s wife, Meena. The author had been meeting visiting Pi for a while without ever hearing... (full context)
Chapter 31
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Pi describes the one time that both Mr. Kumar 1 the atheist biology teacher met Mr.... (full context)
Chapter 32
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Pi explains the concept of zoomorphism, which is when animals see humans or members of another... (full context)
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Pi says that the animals are aware of the real truth – the lion cubs know... (full context)
Chapter 33
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The author describes Pi showing him old family photos. There are pictures of Pi’s wedding and his days growing... (full context)
Chapter 34
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Back in Pi’s narrative, the family prepares to sail to Canada. Pi describes the huge hassle of selling... (full context)
Chapter 35
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Pi and his family left India on a Japanese cargo ship called the Tsimtsum, departing on... (full context)
Chapter 36
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The author returns again. On one of his visits he meets Pi’s two children, Nikhil and Usha. Again the author had no idea that Pi had children... (full context)
Chapter 37
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Pi begins the narrative with the Tsimtsum sinking. Everything is chaotic, and Pi is alone in... (full context)
Chapter 38
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Pi’s story jumps back to before the shipwreck. They had been traveling peacefully, and Pi was... (full context)
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Pi goes onto the main deck, where it is raining. He notices that the ship is... (full context)
Chapter 39
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Pi falls forty feet and lands on a half-unrolled tarpaulin covering a lifeboat that is hanging... (full context)
Chapter 40
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The story moves forward, to the point just after Pi jumped overboard to escape Richard Parker. Pi clings to a fallen oar and then finds... (full context)
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Pi hangs there over the water and assesses his situation – he is alone in the... (full context)
Chapter 41
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Pi looks around for other survivors as the ship disappears beneath the waves. He is surrounded... (full context)
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Pi notices that the zebra is still alive too, though its back leg is gruesomely broken.... (full context)
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Pi wonders how the hyena got aboard. He realizes that it was already in the lifeboat,... (full context)
Chapter 42
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...was a popular member of the Pondicherry Zoo and the mother of two male orangutans. Pi laments that such a gentle creature should experience so much pain, but he is glad... (full context)
Chapter 43
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Pi assures himself that someone knows about the sinking of the Tsimtsum and that rescuers will... (full context)
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...barking, and looking out into the water. This goes on for a long time and Pi gets worried. Despite his fear Pi eventually grows bored and annoyed by the hyena’s constant... (full context)
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Pi remembers facts about hyenas – in packs they can kill even large, strong herd animals.... (full context)
Chapter 44
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The day passes slowly and Pi listens to the flies buzzing around on the boat. Evening comes and Pi grows afraid... (full context)
Chapter 45
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Finally the sun rises, and with it Pi’s hope returns. He feels sure that he will be rescued soon and he thinks of... (full context)
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Pi starts to feel seasick and he changes position on his oar. He sees Orange Juice... (full context)
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Pi also marvels that the hyena hasn’t attacked Orange Juice, and he muses on how these... (full context)
Chapter 46
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Night comes again and Pi sinks into despair. He notices that the water is full of mako sharks and other... (full context)
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...and they both retreat. The sharks eventually swim away too, but the zebra suffers on. Pi is horrified by all this. He finally acknowledges that his family is probably dead, and... (full context)
Chapter 47
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...the hyena attacks. Orange Juice thumps the hyena hard on the head, shocking and inspiring Pi with her spirit. (full context)
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...the larger, predatory hyena though, and it bites her throat and then severs her head. Pi walks forward onto the lifeboat and sees her headless body with its arms outstretched like... (full context)
Chapter 48
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Pi tells the story of Richard Parker’s origins. A panther had been killing people near Bangladesh,... (full context)
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...the hunter gave to the cub, which was Thirsty (with the family name “None Given”). Pi’s father was so amused by this that he officially kept the tiger cub’s name as... (full context)
Chapter 49
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Back on the lifeboat Pi wakes up and accepts that Richard Parker really is present on the boat with him.... (full context)
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Pi explores the lifeboat, looking for supplies. He notices that he is no longer afraid of... (full context)
Chapter 50
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Pi takes stock of the details of the lifeboat – it is twenty-six feet long and... (full context)
Chapter 52
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Pi gives a complete list of all the contents of the lifeboat. This includes anti-seasickness medicine,... (full context)
Chapter 53
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When Pi wakes up he realizes he has to deal with the reality of Richard Parker. He... (full context)
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Pi lashes his raft together with the rope, and as he works the hyena starts to... (full context)
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Richard Parker approaches Pi, who prepares for death, but the tiger is distracted by the softness of the tarpaulin... (full context)
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Pi finishes his raft, ties it to the lifeboat with a rope, and steps onto it.... (full context)
Chapter 54
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It rains all night and Pi stays on the raft, cold and wet and unable to sleep. He begins coming up... (full context)
Chapter 55
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Dawn breaks and it starts raining harder, but then it suddenly stops. Pi warms up and takes stock of his situation. He recognizes that his raft is too... (full context)
Chapter 56
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Pi muses on fear, which now totally overwhelms him. His crippling terror overwhelms his reason and... (full context)
Chapter 57
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Pi is cured of his hopelessness and terror by Richard Parker himself. The tiger seems sated... (full context)
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Pi admits that part of him is glad that Richard Parker is still alive, as he... (full context)
Chapter 58
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Pi reads the survival manual that he found in the locker. It advises him about what... (full context)
Chapter 59
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Pi’s hunger and thirst overcome his depression, and he climbs onto the lifeboat. Richard Parker is... (full context)
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Pi smells urine and realizes that Richard Parker has marked his territory by urinating below the... (full context)
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Pi examines the solar still in the locker. He discovers that they are devices (consisting of... (full context)
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Pi eats more rations, feeling hopeful and admiring the beauty of the sky and sea. Richard... (full context)
Chapter 60
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Pi wakes up once in the night and is terrified by the sublimity of his surroundings,... (full context)
Chapter 61
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The next day Pi wakes up feeling strong and rested. He cuts up his leather shoe and tries using... (full context)
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...flying fish then leaps into and over the boat, some of them hitting Richard Parker. Pi throws fish to the tiger as a “treat” to help tame him. Pi realizes that... (full context)
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Pi finally wraps the flying fish in a blanket and breaks its neck, weeping. He feels... (full context)
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Pi kills the dorado with a hatchet from the locker. He finds it much easier to... (full context)
Chapter 62
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Pi wakes up before sunrise and sees Richard Parker pacing around, growing thirsty. Pi checks the... (full context)
Chapter 63
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Pi lists other famous shipwreck survivors, and says that he ended up surviving 227 days at... (full context)
Chapter 64
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Pi’s clothes eventually disintegrate from the sun and salt, and he gets salt-water boils on his... (full context)
Chapter 65
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Pi pores over the survival manual, trying to decipher its advice about navigation, but he knows... (full context)
Chapter 66
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Pi keeps fishing, often using a gaff that he finds in the locker. He pulls the... (full context)
Chapter 67
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Pi observes the underside of his raft and finds algae, shrimp, and crabs living on it.... (full context)
Chapter 68
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Pi survives on very little sleep, and usually only gets about an hour at a time.... (full context)
Chapter 69
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On some nights Pi thinks he sees light in the distance, and he sends up a flare, but nothing... (full context)
Chapter 70
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One day Pi catches a hawksbill sea turtle. It is too large and unwieldy to deal with on... (full context)
Chapter 71
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Pi presents a list of training suggestions for taming a wild animal at sea. He suggests... (full context)
Chapter 72
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Pi fashions a shield from a turtle shell to protect him during these training sessions. On... (full context)
Chapter 73
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Pi longs for a book, particularly a book of scripture. He takes notes in the little... (full context)
Chapter 74
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Pi practices his usual religious rituals, but he adapts them to his situation. He has solitary... (full context)
Chapter 75
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On a day he estimates as his mother’s birthday, Pi sings “Happy Birthday” for her out loud. (full context)
Chapter 76
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Pi also cleans up after Richard Parker, as living among his own feces could make the... (full context)
Chapter 77
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Pi reduces his rations as the biscuits get low, and he is constantly hungry. He fantasizes... (full context)
Chapter 78
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Pi describes the many different forms the sky and sea would take. He feels that he... (full context)
Chapter 79
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...swim by the lifeboat every day – makos, blue sharks, and whitetips. The first shark Pi catches is a four-foot mako. He grabs its tail as it is swimming by and... (full context)
Chapter 80
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One day a huge dorado jumps into the boat while chasing flying fish. Pi picks up the stunned fish, rejoicing, but Richard Parker sees the dorado in Pi’s hands... (full context)
Chapter 81
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Pi admits that his survival is hard to believe, but he explains how he maintained his... (full context)
Chapter 82
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Pi gathers extra water from rain and the solar stills in bags, and he worries constantly... (full context)
Chapter 83
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One day a huge storm comes and the waves turn into mountains. Pi is forced to leave the raft for the lifeboat, and he unrolls the tarpaulin and... (full context)
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At dawn the storm has subsided and Pi emerges. He notices that the raft has disappeared, leaving only two oars and a life... (full context)
Chapter 84
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One day Pi hears a noise and water crashes down on him from above, though the sky is... (full context)
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Pi sometimes sees dolphins, but he only sees six birds during his whole time at sea.... (full context)
Chapter 85
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One day there is a thunderstorm and lightning strikes the water near the lifeboat. Pi grows ecstatic at the sight and praises God for this “miracle,” but Richard Parker cowers... (full context)
Chapter 86
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On another day a ship appears on the horizon and Pi shouts with joy, sure that he will be rescued. The ship is a huge tanker,... (full context)
Chapter 87
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Pi develops a method of slightly asphyxiating himself, which creates a pleasing sensation. He takes a... (full context)
Chapter 88
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One day the lifeboat drifts into a mass of floating trash. Pi picks out a corked, empty wine bottle. There is a refrigerator, but all the food... (full context)
Chapter 89
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The constant sun and salt continues to wear down everything on the lifeboat, including Pi and Richard Parker. They both become skeletally thin, and Pi starts sleeping away most of... (full context)
Chapter 90
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One day Richard Parker seems to go blind. Pi throws a dorado at him and it smacks into the tiger’s face. Pi pities Richard... (full context)
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Pi feels death approaching and he bids a vocal farewell to Richard Parker. He hears a... (full context)
Pi asks Richard Parker if he has ever killed a man, and the voice says that... (full context)
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Pi wakes up and hears the voice again, and he realizes that it doesn’t belong to... (full context)
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The castaway finally asks for Pi’s story, which is about a banana falling to the ground and making someone feel better.... (full context)
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Pi embraces the castaway, but the man suddenly tries to kill Pi, threatening to eat his... (full context)
Chapter 91
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Pi climbs aboard the castaway’s boat and finds some fish and turtle meat and a few... (full context)
Chapter 92
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Pi describes an “exceptional botanical discovery” that he makes. One day the boat approaches a low-lying... (full context)
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Pi finally believes that the island is not a hallucination, and he becomes delirious with joy.... (full context)
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Pi spends the day in bliss, but he returns to his “territory” on the lifeboat at... (full context)
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Richard Parker returns to his former strength and speed, and Pi’s fear of him returns when he bursts out of the trees one night. The tiger... (full context)
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A few days later Pi decides to explore the island. It seems large and rises to about sixty feet at... (full context)
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...pond and pulling out large fish. The fish are already dead, but freshly so, and Pi is mystified by this. He takes a sip of the water and finds that it... (full context)
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Suddenly the meerkats all turn and Pi sees Richard Parker in the distance, killing hundreds of them at his leisure. They don’t... (full context)
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More days pass and Pi feels all his aches and pains easing. A storm hits the island while he is... (full context)
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One day Pi is exploring the forest when he comes across Richard Parker. Afterwards he takes up the... (full context)
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Just as Pi makes his “bed” all the multitudes of meerkats abandon the plain and climb into the... (full context)
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One night Pi wakes up and sees more dead fish floating up in one of the ponds, but... (full context)
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Pi finds a tree that seems to have fruit. He climbs it and picks one, noticing... (full context)
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Pi begins to understand the awful truth about the island, and he tests his theory that... (full context)
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Pi realizes that the island is carnivorous. The algae becomes acidic and deadly at night, digesting... (full context)
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The next morning Pi resolves to leave the algae island. He would prefer to die searching for land and... (full context)
Chapter 93
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Pi vaguely describes the rest of his ordeal, which is a constant trial of endurance and... (full context)
Chapter 94
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One day the lifeboat washes ashore on a Mexican beach, but Pi is so weak that he can barely believe it or experience happiness. He guides the... (full context)
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Pi crawls ashore and sprawls in the sand, feeling totally alone now that even Richard Parker... (full context)
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Pi says that this “bungled goodbye” with Richard Parker has pained him all his life, and... (full context)
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Pi’s rescuers take him to their village and bathe and feed him, and the next day... (full context)
Chapter 95
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...describe the nature of the next section. It is a transcript of a conversation between Pi and two officials from the Maritime Department of the Japanese Ministry of Transport. These officials,... (full context)
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...finally reached their destination, Tomatlán, after travelling without sleep for forty-one hours. They then interviewed Pi in English and taped the conversation. The author has since received a copy of this... (full context)
Chapter 96
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...is a junior official, and Okamoto gives him advice in Japanese in between talking to Pi. They greet Pi and discuss their trip. The officials say that they had a nice... (full context)
Chapter 98
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Okamoto and Chiba tell Pi that his story is interesting, but they express their disbelief to each other in Japanese.... (full context)
Chapter 99
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The interviewers return and tell Pi that they don’t believe his story. As an example of its impossibility, they claim that... (full context)
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Pi says that they don’t believe in the island just because they haven’t seen it, but... (full context)
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Okamoto moves on, challenging Pi about Richard Parker. He says that no one has spotted a tiger in the area... (full context)
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Pi responds that animals are just as afraid of humans as we are of them. He... (full context)
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Chiba becomes distracted by Pi’s responses and Okamoto berates him in Japanese, asking him to help with the situation. The... (full context)
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Pi is unwilling to give up discussing his story, however, so Okamoto asks him about the... (full context)
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The officials are embarrassed by this, and Pi offers them cookies. He then asks them if they liked his story. The officials say... (full context)
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Pi pauses for a while and then begins a new account of his experience. In this... (full context)
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Pi’s mother tended to the wounded sailor but his broken leg got worse, growing black and... (full context)
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The next day Pi went to throw the severed leg overboard, but the cook stopped him. He said the... (full context)
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Pi’s mother screamed at the cook and then discovered that he had been stealing rations. Pi... (full context)
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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.... (full context)
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After a while Pi and his mother grew more friendly with the cook, as he helped them to survive.... (full context)
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The cook butchered Pi’s mother and ate some of her flesh. Pi stayed on the raft for a day... (full context)
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Pi cut up the cook and ate his heart, liver, and pieces of his flesh. He... (full context)
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Okamoto and Chiba are horrified by this story, but they note the parallels between Pi’s two tales – the zebra corresponds with the Chinese sailor, the hyena with the cook,... (full context)
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The officials ask Pi some technical questions about the nature of the Tsimtsum’s sinking. Pi says that the crew... (full context)
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Before the officials leave Pi asks them which of his two stories they preferred. He reminds them that neither story... (full context)
Chapter 100
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...that the cause of the shipwreck is unknowable. He then adds a personal note about Pi, saying that his ordeal at sea was unique and astonishing. He says that Pi’s story... (full context)