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 tries to decide what is best for him, certain of death if he stays on the boat and certain of death if he jumps overboard. He once again falls into despair over his losses and the only thing that keeps him going is a short prayer he keeps telling himself,“so long as God is with me, I will not die. Amen.” He decides to build a raft from the life jackets in the boat and the ropes in the locker. He puts the buoy in the middle and sets it attached to the front of the boat. The hyena is freaking out and Pi hopes to finish before it’s too late.

It’s then that Richard Parker finally rises to his full size and quickly kills the hyena. The tiger moans from the rocking of the boat, clearly seasick and turns to face Pi. Afraid for his life, Pi still manages to note the beauty of the tiger. When a rat runs across Pi’s head, Richard Parker tries to attack. He cannot quite make it because of the motion of the boat though and it gives Pi to throw the rat at the tiger. Satisfied with his treat, Pi is able to retreat and escape the tiger’s attack. He notices soon afterward that Richard Parker had vomited in his space.

With the time he’s given, Pi quickly finishes the raft and gets aboard. He keeps it close to the lifeboat, but it floats and offers a source of safety to keep away from the tiger. When it starts raining and Pi goes to get a rain catcher, Richard Parker hears and goes to attack, forcing Pi to quickly push away from the boat.

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