Notes on Life of Pi Essay
Chapter 4 – Setting
Chapter Four builds background. Seeing that he grew up with a zoo in Pondicherry, part of French India, the reader gets a sense of the environment Pi grew up in. He describes growing up in the zoo as “paradise on earth” and explains how he has “nothing but the fondest memories of growing up in a zoo” (15). This is critical to the reader as they learn his connection to animals and wildlife, which explains how he eventually is able to tame Richard Parker and survive out in the Pacific Ocean. As well, Pondicherry is where Pi embraces Hinduism, from his mother, and Islam, from a local baker. The nature of religious belief, a major theme, is first mentioned in this chapter which is why it is critical to the setting of the novel.
Chapter 15 – Characterization
In this chapter Martel explores Pi’s house in Canada and describes what he sees. Upon exploration, Martel notices Pi’s interest in faith and religion, and describes “his house [as] a temple” (50). He also describes that “upstairs in his office there is a brass Ganesha sitting cross-legged next to the computer, a wooden Christ on the cross from Brazil on a wall, and a green prayer rug in the corner” (51). This is indirect characterization of Pi. The reader observes Pi as a person who is heavily religious and follows three religions. Seeing that he follows three major religions, the reader also characterizes Pi as an open-minded individual who accepts and embraces new concepts as they come to him.
Chapter 37 – Conflict
The biggest conflict Pi faces in his journey is with nature. In chapter 37, nature takes everything he has after the Tsimtsum sinks during a storm; this event is the turning point in Pi’s journey to Canada. This is particularly hard for Pi as he exclaims “every single thing I value in life has been destroyed” and how “[he] had never experienced such intense pain, such ripping of the nerves, such an ache of the heart” (…