Life of Pi

Topics: Yann Martel, Life of Pi, Canada Reads Pages: 5 (2423 words) Published: November 11, 2008
In the beginning of Life of Pi, the author opens up with a detailed description of the sloth, the different types, the speed, and the wittiness. It survives by being slow and because of its slowness; it allows algae to grow on its body that acts like a camouflage with the surrounding moss and foliage. The book starts out in first person with the main character, Piscine Patel, talking about his name which means "pool" in numerous languages. He found it weird that his parents named him Piscine but neither of them ever took to the water. It was Pi's uncle, Mamaji, who was the enthusiast of water. Mamaji had taught Pi how to swim. "I lay on the bench and fluttered my legs and scratched away at the sand with my hands, turning my head at every stroke to breathe. I must have looked like a child throwing a peculiar, slow-motion tantrum." I find this quote to be not only funny but descriptive and vivid. It is lines like these in the book that you could see this boy doing and it makes you smile if not laugh a little. Pi Patel then talks about his country of India and his city that he lives in of Pondicherry. Pi lives in Pondicherry, India with his mother, father, and older brother, Ravi. Together, the family owns a magnificent zoo that is home to hundreds of animals including tigers and zebras. The foundation of the book describes the zoo and Pondicherry wonderfully and detailed. The author, Yann Martel, describes the place and you can see it all, the town, the zoo, and the nature of the whole scenery. He makes the reader smell, see, and feel what Pi smells, sees, and feels; emotionally, physically, and mentally. I would have started this book out the same but this description of where he lives and his surroundings and the day-to-day conversations he has is a little boring. It seems over the top, and it takes up too much space in the book. Pi is also having a religious conflict. He was brought up a Hindu but explores all sorts of religions in his childhood such as Christian, and Muslim. He wants to be baptized, own a prayer rug, and praise Allah. He visits a church close by and talks to the priest. Though the priest encourages Pi to convert, he first lets him think it over with his parents and learn what Christianity is all about. This part in the book was sort of unusual in that it makes you question all kinds of things like religion. The rising action begins when Pi and his family decide to move to Toronto Canada when Pi is 16. They say that they could sell some animals for a good price to other zoos in the country. Ravi and Pi did not want to move but their parents wanted to start a new life in Canada. They take a Japanese cargo vessel, called Tsitsum, with all of their animals to Toronto. In a way this is sort of Noah's Ark like; I guess the author tried to incorporate religion in more than one way. While the vessel is leaving port, Pi thinks to himself that it might be for the best. While he contemplates the pros and cons of India and Canada, he realizes that he can not change what is fact. He "must take life the way it comes at you and make the best of it." On the way there, a rough storm strikes and the boat sinks. Pi was in the cargo space checking on the animals and before he can come in contact with his mother, father or brother, he gets thrown in to a lifeboat by two seamen. While watching the boat sink and hearing many stated, "metallic burps", he catches a glimpse of the tiger and helps it on board the lifeboat. I think that is committing suicide but maybe he had some kind of attachment to the tiger. Once the sun rises he finds out that he is sharing his boat not only with a wounded zebra, a hyena, and an orangutan, but he is also "rooming" with a humongous Bengal tiger. Pi spends the next few days curled up thinking about what to do next and without food and water under a tarpaulin on the boat waiting for assistance. The vulnerable zebra is the earliest to go, followed by the hyena and the orangutan. He calls this tiger...
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