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Life of Pi

Life of Pi

by Yann Martel

Life of Pi Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Allegory

The 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 survivor. (Martel offers us the blueprint...

Setting

It's easy to forget the circumstances surrounding the Patel family's departure from Pondicherry, India. Once we're on the ocean with Pi and Richard Parker, the rest of the novel seems like backstor...

POV/Narrative Voice

Martel chooses a very complex point of view for Life of Pi. Or rather, multiple points of view. We start out in First Person (Central Narrator) Land – meaning, the guy speaking is telling his...

Genre

There's no doubt that Life of Pi follows in the footsteps (or wake) of the great high-seas adventure novels. Its author, Yann Martel, spent a year and a half researching (along with religion and zo...

Tone

Sometimes 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 is really funny if you take the time to thin...

Style

In 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 moseying along, listening to Pi tell i...

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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