Life of Pi


Summary: Part Three, Chapters 96-100

Summary: Part Three, Chapters 96-100

At the beginning of Part 3, the narrative returns to the author’s voice. He describes how two officials from the Japanese Ministry of Transport heard of Pi’s landing in Tomatlán, Mexico. Since Pi was the only known survivor of the Japanese ship, Mr. Okamoto and Mr. Chiba were instructed to meet with Pi and learn what they could about the sinking of the ship. After a difficult two-day journey from California, the officials arrived at the hospital in Tomatlán, where they interviewed Pi. The author explains that Mr. Okamoto has provided him with the three-hour audiotaped interview, along with his final report to the Japanese Ministry. The conversation takes place mainly in English, with some asides spoken in Japanese by Mr. Okamoto and Mr. Chiba. Martel explains that he had the Japanese portions translated. What follows in the next four chapters is in the form of a transcript, with the Japanese portions written in bold italics.

Mr. Okamoto and Mr. Chiba meet with Pi, who is still recovering in his hospital bed. They ask Pi to describe his experience, and Pi tells them the story exactly as it was told in Part Two of the novel. In Chapter 99, the officials tell Pi bluntly that they do not believe his story. There are too many implausible details, they say. First, they do not believe that bananas float. Taking some bananas out from beneath his sheet, Pi invites the officials to fill the sink with water and see if this is true. The bananas float. Next, the officials question the scientific possibility of a carnivorous island. Pi replies that a fly might not believe in the possibility of a carnivorous plant—until being captured by a Venus flytrap. Pi suggests that the officials merely do not believe in these things because they have never seen them. Mr. Okamoto agrees that this is true, and continues questioning the incredible details of Pi’s story. Pi counters each fresh objection with a clever argument, but the officials remain unconvinced. Finally, Pi concludes that they simply...

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