Life of Pi
Life of Pi
by Yann Martel

Life of Pi Theme of Madness

You knew we were going to say this: madness is a little complicated in Life of Pi. Is faith a form of madness? Is the madness that causes animals to leave a warm, secure home the same as the madness of murder and cannibalism? Is the predator-prey relationship, so common in both natural and man-made worlds, a form of madness? Of course, like the good novelist he is, Martel leaves most of these questions open. If believing in beautiful stories, and in fictions that guide and explain our lives, counts as madness, then Martel suggests a little madness will do us a lot of good.

Questions About Madness

  1. Certainly it's possible for humans to go mad in this novel. But what about animals? Does their madness count as the same thing? Or is it merely extreme hunger and thirst without the emotional devastation part?
  2. When did you begin to question the credibility of Pi's story? Do you think Pi goes insane later in his story and the earlier part remains believable?
  3. How does madness relate to spirituality in the novel? How about religious faith?
  4. What is the connection between physical suffering and madness in the novel?

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