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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 66


Summary

Pi changes from hook and line fishing to using gaffs to impale the fish. He is over his revulsion of handling and killing them. Using the cargo net as a lure proves fruitful. On rare occasions there are so many fish that Pi is covered in scales and feels he looks like a fish god. He begins catching turtles and wrestles to get them on board, exhibiting the strength of Hanuman. Pi is repentant that he, a vegetarian, has become a flesh eating killer.

Notes


Previously, Pi was repulsed by the thought of eating even the animal fat in the survival biscuits. He was in tears killing the first flying fish. Now he desperately slaughters and eats anything he can catch. This chapter perfectly illustrates Pi’s inner conflict where he must maintain his faith yet compromise his beliefs in order to survive. Pi has become animal-like while Richard Parker has become a human companion.

Hanuman refers to the Hindu god with a simian form. He is a symbol of physical strength, perseverance, and devotion. He helps when faced with ordeals or challenges. Pi mentioned him in Chapter 23 as a suitable god for Father at the zoo. He is suitable for Pi in his current predicament as well.


CHAPTER 67 - 69


Summary

Pi describes the distractions from the nerve-wracking monotony of his daily existence. Algae begin to grow on the underside of the raft and eventually an entire ecosystem develops. Pi watches the worms, slugs, shrimp, crabs, and fish, sampling them as possible food items. He settles on the crabs as most palatable and eats them to local extinction. He also sucks on the barnacles that attach to the lifeboat.

Another distraction is, of course, Richard Parker. Pi, unable to sleep much, examines in detail the tiger’s favorite sleeping positions

The third distraction is that of a light in the distance. When Pi sees what might be a ship he sets off flares that smell, to him, like cumin. This smell of home helps relieve Pi of the crushing disappointment that there is no hope that he will actually be found. Richard Parker stares at the light of the flares. The light illuminates the water briefly making the fish visible.

Notes

There is no mention of God in these three chapters or in the next. Pi is desperately hanging on to every little bit of life around him. The flares, instead of saving Pi, become a dismal reminder that it is just Pi, Richard Parker, and the fish. Pi feels there is no chance that a ship “would cut into such a tiny circle and see me”. The italicized words are noteworthy as will be shown in a subsequent chapter.


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