Life of Pi Study Guide

Life of Pi

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Life of Pi by Yann Martel tells the story of a young man named Pi Patel, whose family owns a zoo in India. They decide to move to Canada and transport their zoo, but the ship they were sailing across the Atlantic encounters a storm and sinks. Pi is the only survivor, as he finds himself on a lifeboat with a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan, and Bengal tiger he names Richard Parker.

Pi meets with Satish Kumar, a very particular teacher of his– a communist, atheist, biology teacher, and one of Pi’s favorites. On a particular visit to the zoo, Pi describes for Satish Kumar the need for goats within the Rhino enclosure to keep the Rhino’s company.

Satish Kumar begins to relay his belief that all things can be described scientifically, describing his bout with polio and how medicine saved him as a child, not God. Pi cannot reconcile with the story until he learns to accept Kumar’s beliefs as a faith all by itself. He comments on how atheists are more acceptable than agnostics, who are full of doubt.

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