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Free Study Guide for Life of Pi by Yann Martel-Book Notes/Summary
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LIFE OF PI - FREE BOOKNOTES

CHAPTER 26

Summary

Pi approaches his father and asks to be baptized (as a Christian) and requests a prayer rug (for Islamic prayer). Father is confused and tries to explain to Pi that the different religions have nothing in common. Pi refutes this, listing several prophets and, of course, the one God shared by Christians and Muslims. Father points out to Pi that the family is Indian, implying that Pi should be Hindu. Pi refutes this as well explaining that Christians and Muslims have been in India hundreds of years. Exasperated, Father tells Pi to go ask Mother. Mother then tells Pi to go ask Father. Rather than pursue the issue further, Mother tries to change the subject by suggesting great books for Pi to read. Pi is not to be deterred and makes his point analogizing his multiple religions with Mamaji’s multiple passports. Mother, too, becomes exasperated.

Notes

Confident, Pi now goes beyond reasoning with his heart, i.e. “I just want to love God,” to arguing with doctrine and facts. Indeed, the more one studies the various religions, the more one sees they have in common making it easy to accept, as Mahatma Gandhi said, that all religions are true. His parents, not being religious do not know what to make of Pi’s fervor.

CHAPTERS 27 and 28

Summary

Pi parents discuss their son’s religious issues, contrasting India’s political progress under “Mrs. Gandhi” (Indira Gandhi) with Pi’s spiritual progress. They conclude that this phase of Pi’s life will pass, just as Mrs. Gandhi and her “foolishness” will pass. They give in to Pi’s requests.


Pi is delighted with his prayer rug. He prays outside in the yard where he can drink in the beauty of Creation. His parents and Ravi watch him, perhaps confused, perhaps embarrassed. He is equally thrilled with his baptism, though the support of his parents comes awkwardly and Ravi continues to tease.

Notes

Pi’s faith and seemingly discrepant beliefs are completely out in the open now. He has taken on the external trappings of religion as well as the convictions. His family has accepted it. Though he no way expresses it, this is a victory of sorts for Pi, and an affirmation of the themes of the novel.

CHAPTER 29

Summary

Pi understands the problems going on in India but is unconcerned because his immediate world, the zoo and God, is not troubled. His father, however, is deeply concerned by Mrs. Gandhi’s autocratic takeover and the effect the governmental infringements on freedom will have on his zoo business. With the diminished possibility of continued success in India, Father decides to move the family to Canada. To Pi and Ravi, the destination seems incomprehensibly far away.

Notes

During the mid-1970’s there were food shortages, high inflation, and political corruption in India. Indira Gandhi “solved” the problems by imprisoning her political enemies, censoring the press, and abrogating constitutional rights. Irreparable harm was done to the Indian democracy. These are the events that troubled Pi’s father so, and the basis for his decision to emigrate.

CHAPTER 30

Summary

The author meets Pi’s wife. He describes her as Canadian, second generation Indian, with typical Indian features. She is a pharmacist. The author has noticed the religious items in Pi’s house all along, but now sees that there is evidence of married life as well. He suspects it might be Pi’s wife that cooks the torturously spicy food. But then, smiling, Pi says that he has made a special chutney for the author, confirming that Pi is the cook.

Notes

Again the author interjects reality to give the reader insight into Pi’s personality and also to solidify his credibility. These author-narrated chapters convey that the conversations with Pi are real events, not just storytelling.

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