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Life of PI Culture Guide
Transcript of Life of PI Culture Guide
The book is divided into three parts. Part One talks about the main character,Pi Patel's early life in the Pondicherry Zoo where he grew up for much of his early life and talks briefly about his current life in Toronto. We learn here about his experiences with animals, and his encounters with the different religions of India- Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam. Part two talks about his fight for survival while at sea after a devastating storm that sank the ship he was on which killed everyone on board except for a hyena, zebra, Orangutan, and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. For much of his trip he fights the elements while trying to tame and not get eaten by the tiger.P art three brings us to his interview with two Japanese men who are here to investigate the sinking of the ship after he was found on land. He tells them a wonderful tale of what happened leaving a puzzling conclusion to which story the reader wants to believe.
Major elements present in the Novel:
The culture of India is heavily present throughout much of the book as part of the book is set in India, and the main character himself is from India. Even though some parts of the book is at sea and Toronto, Pi proudly presents his culture to both areas. One of the major aspects of culture presented is religion and is the main driving force to Pi's life. Another aspect seen in the book is the aspect of the customs and values in the region.
A variety of religions exist side by side in India, and it is not uncommon to find Christian churches, Muslim mosques, and Hindu temples all on a single block.
Pi was born into Hindu household as Hinduism is the main religion of India with about 84% of the population identifying as a Hindu.
About 13% of Indians are Muslims
Hindus consider cows to be sacred and will not eat beef. Muslims do not eat pork or drink alcohol.
While Muslims, Jews, and Christians pray that their individual souls will go to a paradise after death, Hindu ideas about the afterlife are very different.Most Hindu communities have a fundamental belief in reincarnation
In Islam, muslim means anyone who surrenders themselves to the will of God
Christians believe in one God that created heaven, earth, and the universe.
Information about India's Religions
"I have a story that will make you believe in God" (X)
"But religion is more than rite and ritual. There is what the rite and ritual stand for. Here too I am a Hindu. The universe makes sense to me through Hindu eyes." (48)
" I challenge anyone to understand Islam, its spirit, and not to love it. It is a beautiful religion of brotherhood and devotion." (61)
"The presence of God is the finest of rewards"(63)
"Religion will save us," I said. Since when I could remember, religions had always been close to my heart. (27)
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. (19)
"I owe to Hinduism the original landscape of my religious imagination, those towns and rivers, battlefields and forest, holy mountains and deep seas where gods, saints, villains and ordinary people rub shoulders, and in doing so, define who and why we are." (50)
Religion has a major part in the culture seen in the novel, and it heavily influences Pi and the plot of the book. Religion drives his motivation to seek out knowledge and love most of all. He was originally a Hindu only but soon curiosity brought him to Christianity and Islam. His liking towards the three religions help him seek out that there is a lot more to life and see the world very much differently from his peers and family. He has a deep love for God and he feels more connected to nature through his beliefs knowing that it is a powerful being doings. He comes to conclude that all three religions share a common trait- the love and worship towards a powerful being. His will to live is driven by his faith, and it helps him maintain hope in the toughest times that something good will happen.
Customs and Values
The average Indian deeply respects the nation's founder, Mahatma Gandhi, and his ideals, which included humility, nonviolence, self-denial, and religious harmony.
The father or oldest male in the home is head of the household. His decisions are heeded and respected by the rest of the family
Even in hardship, one is to accept one's course in life as the will of God or fate
Indians see education as an investment in the future and the key to improving their lives. Families place a strong emphasis on education starting at a young age
generosity and sharing are greatly valued. Most Indians freely exchange property and food. The respected person is not one with large savings, but rather one who gives generously
The Guardian reports that between 20 percent and 40 percent of India's population is vegetarian
The Color Orange
The Animals on the Boat
The Color orange
The color, orange, is present throughout the book such as the orange cat the adult Pi owns in his house which may represent Richard Parker, the orange life jacket along with the orange whistle the sailors gave Pi, the orange buoy, and the orangutan, OrangeJuice. The life jacket, whistle, and buoy were essential for survival while at sea and the whistle helped play a big role in taming Richard Parker. Orangejuice provided Pi with emotional support after such a tragedy that left all of them frighten.
The animals in the boat are actually people. The wounded zebra is an injured passenger, the hyena is the cook of the ship, Orangejuice is Pi's mother and Richard Parker is a second personality of pi. This can be seen through the similarities of the two stories pi tells in the hospital. The zebra is the wounded sailor because both end up with a broken leg on the boat. The hyena can be seen as the cook due to the fact that both eat the zebra/sailor and Orangejuice/mother. Pi becomes enraged over the death of his mother and murders the hyena/cook. Pi felt so terrible over killing the hyena/cook that he envisions himself as the fierce tiger he knew at his zoo. This explains how Richard Parker was communicating to Pi because he was actually having an internal conflict with his second personality.
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"Never forget this lesson" as he looked on grimly." (35)
"The first time I went to an Indian restaurant I used my finger...I picked up the knife and fork. I hardly ever used such instruments." (7)
"Lord, to think that I'm a strict vegetarian" (197)
"I was a very good student, if I may say so myself. I was tops at St. Michaels's College four years in a row." (5)
The culture customs and value in India vary depending on the region. Many parts of India were influenced by the British, but Pondicherry, where Pi grew up, was influenced by the French as it was a former french territory. Some of the customs of the French transfer over like Pi's name, Piscine, which is named after a pool in France. Family is an important value in India as the family lives and works together. This can be seen by Pi's mother who show care and affection for Pi, and the lesson of the tiger from the father shows his protection and well being for his sons. Pi respects Gandhi for his values of love, respect,and peacefulness to others which Pi shows and quotes often. Pi's fathers is the head of the family as this as being the custom of India for hundreds of years, and he made the decision to leave India, though the family was reluctant, they followed anyways. Its been part of the custom and value of India to be a vegetarian if follower or not, and Pi's maintains a meat-free diet. Generosity is shown by Pi in the book as he gave water and food to Richard Parker so that he may not get eaten as a reward.
Even though Pi is a nickname for Piscine in the novel, the greek letter Pi is a symbol. In math, Pi is shorten to 3.14 as it is a never ending number which is too much for humans to remember as the book puts it as some realities are to hard to face. Piscine is the french word for pool which is fitting due to pi growing up simming. Pi shortens his name because his full name is funny to say for some as they pronounce it as "Pissing" which makes his life easier. This implies that Pi is a realistic character.