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Historical Context of "Life of Pi"

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Jodi Lennon

on 9 November 2016

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Transcript of Historical Context of "Life of Pi"

Life of Pi

About the Author
Martel was born on June 25, 1963 to Canadian parents. He moved frequently throughout his life due to his parents' involvement in the Canadian Foreign Services.

Studied Philosophy at Trent University in Ontario.

Prior to publishing his best selling novel "Life of Pi," He published a collection of short stories,
The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios
, in 1993 and a novel,
Self
, in 1996, but neither book received much critical or commercial attention.
Life of Pi
Originally rejected by 5 different publishers before finally being published in 2001.

Won the Manbooker Prize for Fiction in 2002, a literary prize awarded each year for the best fiction novel written in the English language.
Inspiration for Novel
"I was sort of looking for a story, not only with a small 's' but sort of with a capital 'S' – something that would direct my life." He spoke of being lonely and needing direction in his life, and found that writing the novel met this need. - Martel
Setting
Summer of 1977 in India

Town of Pondicherry is a former French colony in India.

Set against a dark and troubling period of Indian history labeled "The Emergency." This refers to when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was found guilty of charges relating to her 1971 election. In response, Gandhi declared a state of emergency in which she suspended all citizen's Constitutional Rights and gave herself the power to rule by decree. The Emergency lasted for 18 months, and ended in March of 1977.

This was a controversial period because although Gandhi’s political opponents found themselves jailed, abused, and tortured, India’s economy experienced a much-needed stabilization and growth.

Introductory Notes
Theme
a fundamental idea in a literary work strategically used by the author
Faith in Things Unseen
The Quest for the Meaning of Life
The Ability to Create One's Own Fate
Adapt to Overcome
Expectations and Reality Rarely Coincide
Religion in LOP
Hinduism
World's oldest and third largest religion
Originated in India
Characterized by belief in reincarnation and a desire to be liberated from the ongoing cycle of life and death (Enlightenment)
While Hindus believe there is only one absolute, supreme being (Brahman), it is a polytheistic religion that believes in the existence of many gods and goddesses
Follow the Vedas, the oldest, sacred Indian text
Christianity
Founded in the early first century AD
The world's largest religion with over 2 billion followers
Monotheistic- only one God
Many denominations- all possess a common belief in Jesus Christ as the Savior
Follow doctrine of old and new testaments of bible
Believe trinity- father, son, and holy ghost- are all united
Islam
followers referred to as Muslim
second largest religion in the world- over one billion followers
monotheistic- one supreme being (Allah)
Holy text is the Qur'an which God revealed to the prophet Muhammad
Governs all facets of life: moral, spiritual, social, political, economical
Five dedicated prayer times a day
Everyone must take a pilgrimage to Mecca
Full transcript