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Life of Pi

Life of Pi


by Yann Martel

Suffering Quotes in Life of Pi

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

This son, on the other hand, who goes hungry, who suffers from thirst, who gets tired, who is sad, who is anxious, who is heckled and harassed, who has to put up with followers who don't get it and opponents who don't respect Him – what kind of god is that? It's a god on too human a scale, that's what. (1.17.27)

Pi can't imagine a God who suffers. Isn't suffering something humans do? We're not sure if Pi comes to believe in the absolute dignity of suffering – his ordeal is fairly harrowing. He does, however, experience the simultaneous dignity and degradation of suffering.

Quote #2

[Pi:] "And what of my extended family – birds, beasts, and reptiles? They too have drowned. Every single thing I value in life has been destroyed. And I am allowed no explanation? I am to suffer hell without any account from heaven? In that case, what is the purpose of reason, Richard Parker?" (2.37.11)

Take it easy, Pi. Not only is Pi's brain moving as fast as a Japanese bullet train, he's also talking to Richard Parker who is a tiger. Maybe he has a point, though: is suffering bad because it's suffering or is it really, really bad because we have no explanation for it?

Quote #3

I began to wait. My thoughts swung wildly. I was either fixed on practical details of immediate survival or transfixed by pain, weeping silently, my mouth open and my hands at my head. (2.41.15)

Pi stops weeping only when he's working out the immediate details of survival. He has plenty of reason to cry. Most often, Pi worries about Richard Parker and Richard Parker's claws. Don't forget, though, he's just lost his entire family. Pi doesn't talk about the loss of his family as much as he talks about Richard Parker and the methods of his survival, but that loss is still there.

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