Life of Pi
Life of Pi
by Yann Martel

Life of Pi Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Allegory

Everything and Nothing is AllegoricalThe greatest temptation in the history of mankind is to read Life of Pi as an allegory. It's so easy, right? Each surviving animal matches up with a human survi...

Setting

1960-1976. Pondicherry, India; the Pacific Ocean; Mexico; CanadaIt's easy to forget the circumstances surrounding the Patel family's departure from Pondicherry, India. Once we're on the ocean with...

POV/Narrative Voice

First Person (Peripheral Narrator), First Person (Central Narrator)Martel chooses a very complex point of view for Life of Pi. Or rather, multiple points of view. We start out in First Person (Cent...

Genre

Adventure, Magical Realism, Philosophical Literature, PostmodernismThere's no doubt that Life of Pi follows in the footsteps (or wake) of the great high-seas adventure novels. Its author, Yann Mart...

Tone

Humorous, Playful, Philosophical, UnflinchingSometimes a teacher will say a work of literature "is actually quite funny if you think about it." You know right away it's a ploy. For example: "Hamlet...

Style

Average Stuff, Then Really PrettyIn some ways, Martel has his cake and eats it too. He's written a book with unpretentious, casual language that's also capable of stunning lyricism. You'll be mosey...

What's Up With the Title?

The title, of course, refers to our protagonist Pi, whose full name is Piscine Molitor Patel. Pi's name has a few rich associations in the novel. For starters, there's π, the "elusive, irratio...

What's Up With the Ending?

You might find it a little odd, after pages of adventure, despair, and hope, to encounter a sort of Japanese comedy duo at the end. However, the two investigators ask Pi some important questions an...

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