Study Guide

Life of Pi Part 1, Chapter 3

By Yann Martel

Part 1, Chapter 3

  • Back in Pi's voice. In a roundabout way, and with digressions, and with enough interesting details to occupy even the most jaded listener, Pi tells us how he was named.
  • He says, "I was named after a swimming pool." Fair enough.
  • Mr. Francis Adirubasamy returns. He's Pi's uncle and, we might add, a champion swimmer. Pi calls Francis A. "Mamaji," which is an affectionate term for uncle in Tamil (the language Indians speak in Tamil Nadu, Pi's state in eastern India).
  • We meet Ravi, Pi's brother. Ravi makes fun of Mamaji. Oh, Ravi.
  • Mamaji once tried to teach Pi's parents how to swim but they never waded past their knees. But Pi proves a faithful student to Mamaji and learns to swim in the pool and ocean.
  • Pi tells us that, besides actual swimming, people also talked about swimming in his family. Especially Mamaji and Pi's father.
  • Mamaji tells story after story about historic pools. Some are magnificent. The best pool in Paris, according to Mamaji, is the Piscine Molitor.
  • Thus we have Pi's full name: Piscine Molitor Patel, after a swimming pool in France.