© 2015 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.


Essay Lab | Math Shack | Videos

Life of Pi

Life of Pi


Yann Martel

 Table of Contents


Essay Lab | Math Shack | Videos

Life of Pi Characters

Meet the Cast

Piscine (Pi) Molitor Patel

Life of Pi isn't a character-driven book. Meaning, Martel doesn't devote the majority of his efforts to digging deep into the characters' minds. Sure, we can love Pi's humor and good nature, but th...

Richard Parker

Depending on which of Pi's stories you believe, Richard Parker is either a real tiger or he's simply a very developed figment of Pi's imagination. But whichever one you choose – the story wit...

Pi's Mother / Orange Juice

Pi's MotherPi's mother is named Gita, but she's mostly just referred to as "Mother." She's an incredibly warm presence for Pi. She's sympathetic when his father tries to teach him a lesson about th...

The Hyena / The Cook

If there's anything like pure evil in Life of Pi, it comes in the form of the hyena, who, in Pi's second version of his experiences at sea, is the cook. In a way, it's much more understandable in t...

The Blind Frenchman / The Cook

Mr. Okamoto and Mr. Chiba identify the blind Frenchman, who sails up to Pi late in the telling of the first story, as the hyena. This guy complicates the allegory, but, like we said, it's not exact...

The Zebra / the Taiwanese Sailor

The Taiwanese sailor simply suffers. In the second (animal-less) story told by Pi, the cook needlessly amputates the sailor's broken leg to use as fishing bait. The zebra, in the story with animals...

Pi's Father

Pi's father, Santosh, carries the banner of the New India. This means he stands for progress and not religion. He cares about the business of the zoo and worries about losing Pi to religious fanati...


Pi feels intense guilt about Ravi. When Pi leaves to investigate the explosion on the ship, he shakes Ravi but decides to let him sleep. Big mistake. Ravi goes down with the ship. Pi still feels gu...

Francis Adirubasamy and Assorted Gurus

Francis Adirumbasamy – also known as Mamaji – is the guru of all gurus. He's the guy who tells the author about Pi. The author describes him in the Nehru street coffee shop as "a spry,...

The Author

We think it's a little cheeky for Martel to include himself as a character. In the novel, he's kind and earnest, considerate toward Pi and initially suspicious of Francis Adirubasamy. We love the a...

Mr. Okamoto and Mr. Chiba

We admit we didn't understand the two investigators at first. They're hapless. They disagree and lose focus. They seemed more like a comedy duo suddenly invading a tragedy. But they fulfill an impo...

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Noodle's College Search
Noodle's College Search