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.

There is much variance in the weather, from the clouds to the rainfall. He ponders the different sounds of the sea, the wind, and the moon, and all of those many nights spent drifting. Everything is a circle to him, with no land on the horizon, and only the sun beating down every day. He ponders whether there is anyone else out there“also trapped by geometry, also struggling with fear, rage, madness, hopelessness, apathy.” Everything that happens causes joy and despair at the same time. The sun is painful but it cures the meat for Pi to eat and powers the stills that create fresh water. The night is something of relief butis cold and unknown. When he is hot, he wishes to be wet, and when wet, wishes to be dry. And all the while he is both extremely bored and absolutely terrified.

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