Life of Pi
Life of Pi is novel written by Yann Martel, born in Spain in 1963 of Canadian parents. Martel grew up in Costa Rica, France, Mexico, and Canada. The setting takes place in Pi’s childhood home of Pondicherry, India; the Pacific Ocean, Tomatlan, Mexico; and for a short while, in Canada. The significance of growing up in Pondicherry, India gave Pi insight into many different religions which enhanced his spiritual growth. The importance of spending time in the Pacific Ocean where Pi is isolated, helped him develop a relationship with Richard Parker, a 450 pound Bengal tiger, and grow more confident with himself.
Major and Minor Characters
Piscine Patel (Pi) is the narrator and main character of this novel. Pi is a sixteen year old Indian boy whose father is the owner and operator of Pondicherry zoo. Pi’s father taught him his job about caring for animals and how they interact with their surroundings. This knowledge plays a key role in Pi’s survival on a lifeboat with Richard Parker.
Richard Parker spends 227 days on a lifeboat with Pi. His friendship with the Bengal tiger is Pi’s only reason to stay alive. At the end of the novel Richard Parker is Pi’s closest friend and only companion.
Minor characters include Satish Kumar, who is Pi’s biology teacher. He teaches Pi about atheism and the study of zoology. From this relationship, Pi acquires much of his desire for knowledge. In India, Pi is also introduced to another Satish Kumar, a Muslim mystic, who introduces Pi to Islam. Father Martin, another minor character in the novel, is a Catholic priest who introduces Pi to Christianity. Relationships with these spiritual men sparks Pi’s desire to accept multiple faiths.
Mr. Okamoto and Mr. Chiba are two men from the Japanese Ministry of Transport who interview Pi about the sinking of the Tsimtsum. They do not believe Pi’s first story of survival so Pi tells another story. The two stories are very similar ending with the...