Study Guide

Life of Pi Part 1, Chapter 8

By Yann Martel

Part 1, Chapter 8

  • Pi relates to us a lesson his father once taught him. The lesson his father wants to communicate is pretty simply: Animals, especially tigers, are not your friends. Humans are more dangerous than animals because for one, they're cruel, neurotic creatures, but also because human beings project "cuddly" or "cute" traits onto really vicious beasts. Like tigers.
  • Pi launches into the story of his father's lesson. One Sunday morning, Pi's father calls Pi and Ravi over to him. He wants to teach them a lesson that could one day save their lives. This is probably baffling for an eight-year-old child.
  • Pi's father takes him and Ravi to see Mahisha, their 550-pound Bengal tiger.
  • Pi's father has the boys identify the animal. Yes, it's a tiger. Yes, tigers are dangerous. Then he has Babu, the big cats keeper, toss a goat into the tiger's cage to prove the point.
  • You can guess what happens. A little bleating, a little blood. Game over.
  • Pi's father goes through a list of other dangerous animals in the zoo.
  • The chapter ends with the boys holding guinea pigs, because these are an example of safe animals. Ah, family life at the zoo.