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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Study Questions

Life of Pi Questions

  1. It seems like Pi wants us to believe in his first version of his survival at sea. You know, the version with the tiger. But does this version essentially count as a lie? Are there times when you should tell "a dry, yeastless" version? Meaning: does fiction have a limited place in society?
  2. By the way, which version of Pi's survival at sea story do you choose to believe in? Why?
  3. It's odd to suddenly remember that both Pondicherry, India, where Pi is from, and Canada, where the author is from, were both French colonies. In the worst examples of colonization, one culture destroys another. Can one story – not necessarily "the better story" – colonize another? Martel also mentions Darwin a few times in the novel. Would you say that stories, like species, also battle it out for survival? That the best story survives?
  4. Pi realizes he can only survive Richard Parker if he uses his smarts to manipulate the tiger. How is this book one big praise song to the mind and to the mind's resilience? How is it not? How does Martel qualify this praise?
  5. Pi develops a deep friendship with Richard Parker. Can you think of other intense bonds between people and animals? What do these bonds say about compassion and empathy? About our abilities as humans to project?
  6. Do you believe Pi forgets all too quickly about his family? Can we criticize Pi for not talking about the loss of his brother and his parents? Or does the alternate story at the end explain his silence?

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