SparkNotes: Life of Pi: Important Quotations Explained

Date of publication: 2017-08-06 20:50

Discussing Pi’s requests, his parents compare his spiritual quest with the changes of the political status of India under Indira Gandhi. They compare them both as foolishness and decide Pi will eventually get over it (as they hope Gandhi will), giving into his requests in the end.

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"To a large degree, you know, the survival experience has enormous commonalities. Initially, it's like, 'Well, you know, there's a very good chance I'm gonna die here pretty quickly and I'm not ready to die.' And. I feel like I have fixed a lot of things in my life and. I feel pretty filled with what my life path has been, which is quite different from 85 years ago. But I had my 85th birthday in a life raft, I had my 65th birthday right in a hospital bed, but through it all, the same as while adrift, my wife and I have always found reason for finding gifts within the experience. Just that preciousness of life that we seem to capture in the most desperate of times."

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What does the algae island symbolize? Critics have suggested that the island is a symbol of the shallowness of physical pleasure. There is no such thing as a "free lunch"--even the seemingly endless joys of the algae island inevitably "dissolve" (literally) into suffering and death. Life itself, Pi seems to conclude, is a dangerous place. The only way to redeem life, then, is to seek out spiritual or emotional enlightenment through interpersonal connection. (Notice that the island episode also mirrors the Biblical story of the Garden of Eden--Pi leaves terrestrial paradise when he achieves knowledge of death.)

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"And in the final analysis they brought my salvation, because the fishermen had come out to that side of the island that day, which they had never done before, and they saw all these birds hovering over the raft, which were there because of the fish, and they came out to find fish, and they found me as well."

The next day, the two return to the island and eat again. After Pi returns to the boat, Richard Parker comes charging at him. He tries to stop him with the whistle, but the discomfort of the tiger forces him into the water where he swims toward the boat instead.

After rooting around in the other boat, Pi finds a bit of water and food. The tears brought on by the death of the other man have returned his vision a little bit. He rinses them further and in two days, they’ve completely recovered. When his vision returns he sees the final results of Richard Parker’s attack on the body of the other castaway. In a final confession he admits he used bits of the dead man’s flesh for bait and even ate small dried bits himself.

Pi’s father at one point decided to display the danger of animals to Pi and Ravi. He shows the boys a tiger that has not been fed for three days, a standard condition in the wild. Watching what occurs when a goat is introduced to the cage scares “the living vegetarian daylights” out of him. His father goes on to describe the strength of every animal in the against human beings, that is of course except guinea pigs.

The author returns, describing Pi’s home as very religious, similar to a temple. There are numerous religious artifacts representing numerous different religions, from Hinduism to Christianity and Islam. He only describes the area without making comments. This Chapter begins the discussion of the various religious discussions in the next few Chapters.

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