Free Study Guide for Life of Pi by Yann Martel Book Summary|
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Pi accepts atheism, but not agnosticism. Atheists don’t believe in God.
Agnostics believe that we do not know for sure whether or not God exists.
Pi’s opinion on agnosticism is summed up in the final sentence of the
chapter, “To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing
immobility as a means of transportation.”
Pi lists some of the terrible things visitors do to the animals at the zoo leading to the supposition that humans are the most dangerous animals. Pi explains that anthropomorphizing is what makes people lash out at the animals. An animal is an animal. Pi has learned this from both his father and Richard Parker. (The reader does not yet know who Richard Parker is.)
Pi tells of the time his father found it necessary to demonstrate to
Pi and Ravi just how dangerous an animal is. Father takes the boys and
their mother to the cage of Mahisha, the tiger that has not been fed for
three days in order to simulate conditions in the wild. A goat is let
into the cage and what happens as the tiger attacks is “enough to scare
the living vegetarian daylights” out of Pi. Father continues the lesson
with story after story of the strength against humans of every animal
they passed. The final stop is at the guinea pigs which Father pronounces
“not dangerous.” The boys and their mother ignore Father for the next
Another analogy of religion and zoology is used when describing the problems of anthropomorphism, “The obsession with putting ourselves at the centre of everything is the bane not only of theologians but also of zoologists.” This sentence also foreshadows Pi being the actual physical center of everything he sees in Part Two.
There are also more religious references. Pi mentions the story from the Hindu epic the Ramayana about King Ravana kidnapping the goddess Sita. And Mahisha, the tiger’s name, is the name of an evil demon defeated by the goddess Durga.
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Cassie, Donna L.. "TheBestNotes on Life of Pi".
. 09 May 2017