Life of Pi Important Characters

Piscine Patel (Pi) is the protagonist of the novel and mainly its narrator. He is the youngest member of his family who started looking for his place under the sun in an unusual way, at the young age, by exploring the matter of religion. Eccentric as he is, he does not want to follow the convention, and refuses to choose only one religion and only one god, practicing Hinduism, Islam and Christianity at the same time. The zoo his father kept while he was a boy influenced him greatly- not only did he get love and respect for animals there, but also a knowledge about their psychology, which served as an inspiration for the extraordinary story about his survival in the Pacific ocean. Pi is intelligent and witty, but also endurable and brave man who managed to start his life from the scratch in the new country after losing his family and all belongings in the sea accident.

Pi's family, consisted of father, mother and older brother Ravi. Although living in India, this family was above the average with its intelligence and modern views of life. Pi's parents were loving and nontraditional, where mother had the same rights as the father. Ravi was a typical older brother who used to tease Pi. After the shipwreck, Pi's mother was left with only one child, whom she protected until her last breath.

Francis Adirubasamy, mentioned only at the beginning of the novel, was Pi's family friend responsible for Pi's unusual name. Having returned from studies in France, Francis told Pi's father a story about one beautiful swimming pool "Piscine Molitor." Amazed with the story, Pi's father decided to name his newborn son after this pool. Besides, Francis can be considered Pi's salvager- if it was not for him, Pi would have drowned after the ship sank, as Francis was the one who taught Pi to swim.

Mr. Kumar (biology teacher) is represented as Pi's favorite teacher who shared Pi's love for animals and inspired Pi to study zoology.

Mr. Kumar (the baker from mosque) is another influential person in Pi's life. This Mr. Kumar did not know much about animals, but unlike the biology teacher, who was an atheist, he was a true believer who introduced Islam to Pi. If turned into one person, these two men would make the perfect Mr. Kumar, a scientist, an animal lover and a great believer.

Richard Parker is a Bengal tiger brought to Pi's father zoo as a cub. His "baptized" name was Thirsty, given to him by his hunter, Richard Parker, but a paperwork error named him differently. Although Richard Parker was actually the lowest in rank among other lions, his raw power is in the center of Pi's story, as Pi struggles each day to make it until the end of the day without being eaten by him. Unfamiliar with the new setting, the ocean, Richard Parker allowed Pi to be his master, but let his killer instincts overweight from time to time. At the end of the story, Richard Parker ran into the jungle without looking back at Pi, which can be interpreted that wild animal will always be wild, no matter how hard you try to domesticate it. On a deeper level, Richard Parker represents Pi's mental strength to survive the great tragedy, as he was present from the beginning to the end of the adventure.

Orangutan, named Orange Juice, is a female separated from her youngsters during the trip to America. She managed to float to the lifeboat on the raft made from bananas. She is represented as the peaceful animal deprived of savage instinct, highly shaken by the sight of the hyena eating innocent zebra and provoked to answer with violence to the violence she saw. She was beheaded by hyena, and layed next to the zebra. This is not an coincidence, as both orangutan and zebra are innocent animals who meant no harm to anyone. Orangutan actually possessed human characteristic, with the emphasis on the maternal instinct. On a deeper level, Orange Juice matches Pi's mother and is thus compared to Virgin Mary while alive and Jesus Christ as she layed dead, denoting the sacredness and innocence of its character.

Hyena, the most detested animal in the story, represents savagery, evil and treachery. It attacked weaker animals, cowardly waiting for them to turn their back to it, or to become helpless. It did not possess emotions nor compassion for the sufferings of the others, but selfishly fulfilled its needs. The hyena matches the French cook from the real story, both with personality and actions.

Zebra is the weakest animal on the lifeboat, who was doomed to death right from the beginning. After being pushed from the ship, its front legs got broken, leaving the zebra lying helplessly on the boat. Unable to defend itself, it got eaten alive by the hyena, who ate bit by bit of zebra's flesh, careless about its pain. The Taiwanese sailor who did not speak English is hidden behind this innocent animal. He too had his leg broken and was brutally killed by French cook.

Mr. Okamoto and Mr. Chiba, both officials of the Maritime Department in the Japanese Ministry of Transport, occur only at the end of the book. They interview Pi in search for the truth about Tsimtsum and make personal comments on Pi's story. They are the ones who immediately noticed the parallel between animals from Pi's first story and people who actually were present on the lifeboat.

The Author (intrusive narrator) opens the novel without introducing himself and explains how he found out about Pi and his story. After two unsuccessful novels, this author is determined to write an outstanding story that would be his comeback. During the story, he jumps in from time to time and gives his own comments about Pi's personality, skills or just his surroundings. He also ends the novel by attaching the audio recording of Pi's interrogation after the shipwreck and official report on Tsimtsum case.




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Life of Pi Quotes
Life of Pi Part 1 (Toronto and Pondicherry) Chapters 1 - 9 Summary
Life of Pi Part 1 (Toronto and Pondicherry) Chapters 10 - 18 Summary
Life of Pi Summary
Life of Pi Quiz
Life of Pi Part 1 (Toronto and Pondicherry) Chapters 1 - 9 Quiz
Life of Pi Part 1 (Toronto and Pondicherry) Chapters 10 - 18 Quiz
Life of Pi Part 1 (Toronto and Pondicherry) Chapters 19 - 27 Quiz
Life of Pi Part 1 (Toronto and Pondicherry) Chapters 28 - 36 Quiz
Life of Pi Part 2 (The Pacific Ocean) Chapters 37 - 45 Quiz
Life of Pi Part 2 (The Pacific Ocean) Chapters 46 - 54 Quiz
Life of Pi Part 2 (The Pacific Ocean) Chapters 55 - 63 Quiz
Life of Pi Part 2 (The Pacific Ocean) Chapters 64 - 72 Quiz
Life of Pi Part 2 (The Pacific Ocean) Chapters 73 - 83 Quiz
Life of Pi Part 2 (The Pacific Ocean) Chapters 84 - 94 Quiz
Life of Pi Part 3 (Benito Juárez Infirmary, Tomatlán, Mexico) Chapters 95 - 100 Quiz
Life of Pi Part 1 (Toronto and Pondicherry) Chapters 19 - 27 Summary
Life of Pi Part 1 (Toronto and Pondicherry) Chapters 28 - 36 Summary
Life of Pi Part 2 (The Pacific Ocean) Chapters 37 - 45 Summary
Life of Pi Part 2 (The Pacific Ocean) Chapters 46 - 54 Summary
Life of Pi Part 2 (The Pacific Ocean) Chapters 55 - 63 Summary
Life of Pi Part 2 (The Pacific Ocean) Chapters 64 - 72 Summary
Life of Pi Part 2 (The Pacific Ocean) Chapters 73 - 83 Summary
Life of Pi Part 2 (The Pacific Ocean) Chapters 84 - 94 Summary
Life of Pi Part 3 (Benito Juárez Infirmary, Tomatlán, Mexico) Chapters 95 - 100 Summary
Literature
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