Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi)
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… read analysis of Piscine Molitor Patel (Pi)
A three-year-old male royal Bengal tiger who is Pi’s companion on the lifeboat. Richard Parker was captured as a cub by a hunter named Richard Parker, but in the accompanying paperwork the tiger’s… read analysis of Richard Parker
A fictional Canadian author who resembles Yann Martel, the novel’s real author. Like Martel, the “author” has also published two books and was inspired to write Pi’s story while traveling in India. The author… read analysis of The Author
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… read analysis of Gita Patel
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… read analysis of Francis Adirubasamy
Satish Kumar (1)
Pi’s biology teacher at Petit Séminaire, his school in Pondicherry. Mr. Kumar is a polio survivor with a triangle-shaped body. He is a staunch atheist, and enjoys going to the Pondicherry Zoo to admire… read analysis of Satish Kumar (1)
An official from the Maritime Department of the Japanese Ministry of Transport, Okamoto is sent to interview Pi in Mexico and investigate the sinking of the Tsimtsum. He is skeptical of Pi’s first (animal)… read analysis of Tomohiro Okamoto
Pi’s older brother, a boy who loves sports and teases Pi about his name and his religious devotion. Ravi ignores Pi and keeps sleeping on the night of the shipwreck.
Satish Kumar (2)
A Muslim baker and Sufi mystic, this second Mr. Kumar teaches Pi about Islam and eventually converts him. Mr. Kumar goes to the zoo and praises God for the wonder of the animals.
An ugly, violent animal who is one of the lifeboat’s initial inhabitants. The hyena eats the zebra’s leg and then starts eating its insides while the zebra is still alive. The hyena later kills Orange Juice, but is killed and eaten by Richard Parker.
A male Grant’s zebra, a beautiful, exotic animal who breaks its leg jumping into the lifeboat. It suffers greatly at the hyena’s hands before finally dying.
A peaceful, maternal orangutan who had given birth to two sons at the Pondicherry Zoo. She floats to the lifeboat on an island of bananas, and fights the hyena bravely before being killed.
A kind Christian priest who teaches Pi about Jesus and converts him.
Pi’s wife, whom the author briefly meets.
Pi’s son, who plays baseball.
Pi’s daughter, who is shy but close with her father.
The Blind Castaway
A man whom Pi meets in the middle of the Pacific. The castaway is also blind and starving on a lifeboat. He has a French accent and is possibly the cook from the Tsimtsum. The castaway tries to kill and eat Pi, but he is killed by Richard Parker.
Okamoto’s assistant, a naïve and bumbling official who exasperates Okamoto with his inexperience.
The French Cook
The human correspondent to the hyena. The cook is rude and violent, and he eats the sailor and kills Pi’s mother, but then lets himself be stabbed by Pi.
The Chinese Sailor
The human counterpart to the zebra. The sailor is young, beautiful, and speaks only Chinese. He breaks his leg and it becomes infected. The cook cuts off the leg and the sailor dies painfully.
Indira Gandhi, the leader of India during the time when Pi lived in India.
The sister of Pi's mother, who encouraged Pi in his interest in Hinduism.