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Free Study Guide for Life of Pi by Yann Martel Book Summary

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FREE CHAPTER SUMMARY / NOTES: LIFE OF PI


CHAPTER 22


Summary

Pi imagines what an atheist might experience upon dying and finally having faith and love revealed. He contrasts that with his imagined experience of an agnostic who dies clinging to “dry, yeastless factuality” and thereby misses the “better story” because of lack of imagination and faith.

Notes

The meaning of the novel is summarized here. Faith and love provide for the better story in life, and the better story is, well, better. This chapter also foreshadows Pi’s “better story” of his experiences in Part Two.



CHAPTER 23


Summary

Pi, now sixteen, is happily practicing his manifold religions without his basically secular family’s knowledge. While walking along the beach, the family happens to meet the “wise men” of each of Pi’s religions. As the priest, imam, and pandit approach, Pi is horribly aware his religious multiplicity will not be accepted. The priest commends Pi on being a good Christian. This, of course, amazes and upsets the others. Each “wise man” takes his turn attempting to correct the others about Pi’s faith and about which religion is truest. After much proselytizing, the holy men finally agree that though it is venerable for Pi to seek God so enthusiastically, he cannot practice all three religions. He must choose. Embarrassed, Pi replies, “I just want to love God.” No one could object to or reprimand that comment so the three wise men walk away. Father escapes the situation by offering to buy ice cream and the family continues their walk in silence.

Notes

All three religions espouse a personal relationship with God and profess that God is love. Pi is able to accept this commonality innocently. The “wise men,” caught up in dogma, do not see it until Pi explains himself, inoffensively yet incontrovertibly. Diffidently, they depart, unwilling to accept the Truth Pi has revealed, but unable to dispute it. Not being ingrained with any particular dogma, Pi’s parents quietly accept it.


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