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Life of Pi

Pi's life before he leaves his home to travel to Canada

Margaret Ann Thurston

on 5 September 2012

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Transcript of Life of Pi

Life of Pi Project: Groups 1 and 2 By Caroline Barrett & Margaret Ann Thurston The Author's Note Italicized part of novel
Describes how Martel encounters
Pi's story
Martel meets Francis Adirubasamy
Adirubasamy tells Martel Pi's story and his journey across the sea "This book was born
when I was hungry" (VII). Pi's Background & Education Indian boy from Pondicherry
Only member of his family who likes water
Attended University of Toronto
Double-majored in religious studies and zoology Setting (beginning) Pondicherry - Pi's father purchases the zoo here in the 1970s
At the time, India was a chaotic place and faced corruption charges and criticism from opposition parties
Pi's father becomes disappointed once the Patel family's home state of Tamil Nadu is invaded
The Tamil Nadu government is overthrown, which eventually prompts the family to move to Canada The Zoo Pi's father buys the zoo in Pondicherry
Pi grows up loving the zoo and spends much of his time there with the animals
Pi thinks it is better to keep animals in a zoo rather than keep them in the wild "To me, it was paradise on earth" (14). The Animals Howler monkeys, Moluccan cockatoos, otters, American bison, fruit bats, and pink flamingoes to name a few
Pi doesn't go into specifics with the animals - says that he loves spending time with the animals and enjoys watching their habits “In zoos, as in nature, the best times to visit are sunrise and sunset. That is when most animals come to life. They stir and leave their shelter and tiptoe to the water’s edge. They show their raiments. They sing their songs. They turn to each other and perform their rites” (15). Pi's Name “My name is Piscine Molitor Patel,
known to all as Pi Patel.
π = 3.14" (22-23). Pi was teased as a child because his classmates took advantage of his name and began to make fun of it
First day of secondary school - Pi writes his full name on the board and then writes his new name beside it
Before - had difficulty hardships as a boy. The changing of his name represents a new sense of confidence and relief
Humor The Lesson Animals are dangerous and they are not your friends
Pi's father conveys this lesson to his sons by feeding a live goat to a tiger in the zoo
Mr. Patel claims that the lesson would save Pi and Ravi's lives
By making Pi and Ravi fear the tiger, Mr. Patel is able to prove his point and teach the lesson. Although the lesson was shown in drastic manner, it was very effective and made them think
Prepares Pi for being on the boat with Richard Parker - he now has the knowledge to fear animals Understanding the Animals Animals are territorial
Animals will want to escape, whether they grew up in zoos or not
Escape not from somewhere but from something
Animals act out because they are socially insecure “All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways. This madness can be saving; it is part and parcel of the ability to adapt. Without it, no species would survive” (41). Training the Animals Key to run a zoo smoothly - have animals get used to presence of humans
Manipulate flight distance - minimum distance at which an animal wants to keep a perceived enemy
Create stress-free environment so animals do not exhibit aggressive behavior
Provide food, water
Create good enclosure It is full of artifacts and symbols from all three of his religions, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. Pi's House in Canada Hinduism Artifacts Picture of Ganesha
Remover of obstacles
Lord of beginnings
Widely praised and well known Plain Cross Virgin Mary Kaaba Plot Summary: Ch. 1-14 The novel begins by Pi saying that he has experienced a lot of pain and suffering, but he does not explain how or why. He speaks of his religious and zoological studies and and claims that he was a great student. We learn that Pi is currently working but he does not mention his position, and he infers that he enjoys living in Canada but he misses his homeland of India and Richard Parker. He mentions that he stayed at a hospital for a brief time but does not explain the reason, and he talks about his ailments but explains that he got over them and received excellent treatment there. Pi also looks back on his childhood and gives the reader the basics on his background and what his life was like in India. In addition, he recounts his father's zoo, the animals, as well as the training of these animals involved in growing up at a zoo. Shiva Characters Santosh Patel
Pi's father who has a huge love for animals
A worrier but a wise and lovable guy
Afraid that he might lose Pi to his devotion to 3 religions
Gita Patel
Pi's mother who loves books and encourages Pi to read a lot
Sympathetic, calm, protective, loving
Speaks her mind and lets her husband know when she disagrees with him
Like Pi's father, she does not take an interest in religion
Ravi Patel
Pi's older brother
Different from Pi in that he is popular and likes playing sports
Teases Pi about practicing 3 religions at once
Mr. Satish Kumar
Pi's biology teacher at Petit Seminaire
Has a triangular form, makes him odd-looking
A Communist and an atheist
Visits the zoo regularly
Inspires Pi to study zoology in college Plot Summary: Ch. 15-28 Martel describes the Patel house at great length. It is filled with religious symbols and idols from not one but many different religions. One day, Pi and his family take a trip, and Pi comes across a Christian church. The church priest, Father Martin, tells him the story of Christ; Pi becomes so enthralled with the story and so interested in the religion that he tells Father Martin he wants to join the Christian faith. In response, Father Martin tells him he already is a Christian. Next, Pi describes how he became a Muslim at the age of fifteen. It all starts when he meets a Muslim baker. While Pi is carrying on a conversation with the baker, Mr. Kumar, Mr. Kumar tells Pi he has to go pray. Pi watches the prayer routine, becomes very curious about the Islam religion, and explores the baker's faith. Soon, Pi's parents find out he is practicing Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam, when they run into his priest, imam, and pandit at the same time. The religious figures are shocked to find out that he is practicing three religions and begin to agrue about which religion is the most true. Later, Pi asks his father for a prayer rug and also tells him that he wants to be baptized. Pi's parents were both surprised that he wanted such a thing but they gave into his requests anyway. Vocabulary Cosmogony: A theory or story of the origin and development of the universe, the solar system, or the earth-moon system

Sambar: A deer (Cervus unicolor) of India, Sri Lanka, Southeastern Asia, the East Indies, and the Philippines; has three-pointed antlers

Piscine: Pertaining to or relating to fish

Raiment: Clothing, apparel, attire

Avowed: Acknowledged, declared

Dhikr: Recitation of the 99 names of God (Islam)

Pandit: A wise or learned man in India, often used as an honorary title

Imam: A leader of congressional prayer in a mosque Prayer Rug Bible Pi and Hinduism Pi's family was Hindu
Went through a Hindu rite of passage when he was a baby "The world made sense to me through Hindu eyes" (48). Christianity He was 14 when he became a Christian
Met Father Martin
At first he doesn't understand why Gods son was punished for the sins of humans
Compares the Christian God to Hindu Gods "Christianity is a religion in a rush" (57). Islam 15 years old
Thinks Muslims have a reputation far worse than Christians
Meets Mr. Kumar
Humor with the bakery incident
Brotherhood and devotion "It's about the Beloved" (60). ““What is your son doing going to temple?” asked the priest.
“Your son was seen in church crossing himself,” said the imam”
“Your son has gone Muslim,” said the pandit"" Meeting of the Three Wisemen A Pandit, a Priest, and an Imam
Forcibly brought to his parents attention
All three of them gang up on each other
All say he is a good _______ boy Ravi's Reaction He makes fun of Pi
“So, Swami Jesus, will you go on the hajj this year?" (70). Father's Reaction Does not understand why he needs three religions
“They’re separate religions! They have nothing in common” (72).
“Talk to mother about it” (72). Mother's Reaction Tried to ignore it
Kept giving him books to distract him
Also tries to get him to choose
"Mamaji is Indian and French why cant I be Hindi and Muslim?" (73).
“How many nations are there in the sky?” (73). Father says “He’s attracting religion like a dog attracts fleas" (74).

Mother says, “Perhaps Piscine is marching to a different drumbeat of progress” (75). "I know zoos are no longer in people's good graces. Religion faces the same problem. Certain illusions about freedom plague them both" (19). Prayer Rug He had a very plain prayer rug
would go outside under the shade of a tree to pray
at first his family watched him curiously but eventually got bored Author's Style Author's Tone Informative, instructive
Martel fills the reader in on the background of characters before the real storytelling starts
Pi shares his religious knowledge - this shows how dedicated he is to his religions
Makes the reader ease into the story and feel comfortable with the basics about Pi and his religious beliefs Themes Fear Point of View Author's note - first person
Most of the remainder of the novel is written in first person except for the final section of the novel, which is an interview between Pi and the officials Religion Vibrant language
Short and simple words and sentences
Sometimes less is more
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