Pi argues that Mr. Okamoto and Mr. Chiba should take the “better story” as the true story. Argue that either the first or second story is the “true story.”
Suggested Answer: Either side can be argued. To argue that the first story is the true story: all characters in the text, even those originally skeptical, and including the author, eventually choose to believe the first story. Pi was greatly experienced with zoo animals, and manages to plausibly explain how he survived with Richard Parker for so long. Similarly, he seems truly depressed about Richard Parker’s desertion, such that it is clear that he, at least, believes his second story. To argue that the second story is the true story: Pi’s main argument to convince the skeptical Mr. Okamoto and Mr. Chiba that the first is true is that it is better, which is irrelevant in an argument about absolute truth.
Yann Martel has said that the hyena is meant to represent cowardice. Explain how this is true.
Suggested Answer: The hyena displays many negative qualities, such as greed, stupidity and viciousness, but these qualities can be seen to come from its cowardice. At the beginning of their time in the boat, the hyena whines almost constantly, and is so afraid that it runs in circles until it makes itself sick. Unlike Pi, who even in his desperate fear finds ways to survive, the hyena just kills and eats as much as it can in a panicked state until Richard Parker kills it.
In what ways does Pi parallel religious belief in God to the zoo?
Suggested Answer: The main parallel that Pi draws between these two things is the true freedom that both provide, even in seeming to restrict it. He says that detractors argue that zoos restrict animals’ freedom and so make them unhappy, and the rituals and rules of religion can similarly be said to restrict human freedom. Pi argues, however, that zoos, by providing an animal with its survival needs, in fact give that animal as much freedom, for it is content, safe, and wouldn’t...