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

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CHAPTER SUMMARIES AND NOTES


CHAPTER 32


Summary

Pi defines “zoomorphism” as an animal perceiving a different animal to be one of its kind, such as the lion tamer being the super-alpha lion. He lists several other examples including a mouse that remains uneaten in the viper enclosure for weeks. Other mice are eaten as expected, but this one seems to have a non-prey relationship with the snakes. Eventually it is eaten by a young viper. Uncharacteristically, Pi anthropomorphizes and suggests that upon swallowing a mouse, a viper would feel regret, taking “an imaginative leap away from the lonely, crude reality of a reptile.”


Notes

Pi is once again preparing the reader with information about animal behavior that will come into play later. He refers back to the “measure of madness” (Chapter 10) that motivates animals to buy into deception if it is in their own best interests. A motherless cub will readily accept a surrogate mother rather than face the reality of being motherless, “the absolute worst condition imaginable for any young, warm-blooded life.” This last comment foreshadows Pi’s “measure of madness” yet to come.


CHAPTER 33


Summary

The author is looking through old photos with Pi. Numerous pictures capture many parts of Pi’s adult life. There are but four pictures from his childhood, mailed to Canada by Mamaji. Richard Parker is in one of the pictures, but he is oblivious to the camera. There are no pictures of Pi’s parents and Pi laments, “It’s very sad not to remember what your mother looks like.”

Notes

The author depicts Pi as a man of deep feeling. Though Pi smiles in his photos, his eyes betray that he has been wounded. The author sees Richard Parker, who has been made reference to before, but the reader does not yet know who Richard Parker is. It is now also apparent that Pi has experienced “the absolute worst condition imaginable” that he referred to in the previous chapter.


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