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The significance of names in Life of Pi

Exploring the significance of names in Yann Martel's Life of Pi

N Littler

on 29 April 2013

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Transcript of The significance of names in Life of Pi

Piscine Molitar Patel Chapter 3 = How he got his name.

"It was a pool the gods would have delighted to swim in." 11 RICHARD PARKER Chapter 48 - How he gets his name

"Richard Parker was so named because of a clerical error." 138
What's in a Name? The significance of names in 'Life of Pi' Chapter 5 = Reinventing himself.

- Why are names important to us?
- What happens when you take on a new name?
- Why does Pi become 'Pi'? What is significant about his choice? Pi 1. A letter in the Greek alphabet that also contains 'alpha' and 'omega' 'Alpha' and 'Omega' are terms used to denote dominant and submissive creatures 2. An irrational mathematical number used to calucuate distance in a circle A shape without corners or edges; the set of all points in a plane that are a given distance from a given point, the centre. Symbolism of a circle? 3. Pi the character represents??? An allegorical figure with multiple layers of meaning > Why such a human name?
- Is Richard Parker more human than Pi?

> How are readers positioned to respond to Richard Parker for the first half of the novel?
Pg 99 When the revelation is made, how do readers react? Why?

How does this manipulate the way readers respond to Richard Parker throughout the remainder of the novel?

> In the second story it is suggested that Pi is in fact Richard Parker (p311). Does this change readers' attitudes to the character?
What does Richard Parker now symbolise? OTHER NAMES Tsmitsum
- A void into which a creative light or presence can enter
- Hindu word for the opening of the void into which the earth was created
> Significance? Orange Juice
- Another example of anthropomorphism?
> Significance?
To consider:
All names are linked to water or liquid
- Pool, Thirsty, Juice

Each name does not appear to 'match' its character at first glance

Names have multiple meanings Practice Writing - NAMES

Analyse and evaluate the significance of one name in the novel. Write a 150-200 word paragraph.
> Anthropomorphism
- The attribution of human characteristics or behavior to a god, animal, or object.

1. Choose a name to explore: Richard Parker or Pi are the obvious choices.
2. Decide on TWO points you would like to make about the name and its significance.
Consider the use of symbolism, how it ties to key themes and why Martel has chosen these names.
3. Find evidence to support each point.
4. Draft the paragraph. Structure = TPEEPEE
'Richard Parker' is not merely a tiger's name, but a symbol of great importance in the novel.

The development of Pi's name foreshadows his transformation.

The name Richard Parker lends great meaning to the text.

Pi's name symbolises the complexity of his character.

Martel's manipulation of names positions readers to react strongly to different characters.

To name an object or being is to qualify its importance and Martel has done this carefully through the names of his characters.
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