Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version
LIFE OF PI - FREE BOOKNOTES
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 Mamajiís multiple passports. Mother, too, becomes exasperated.
Confident, Pi now goes beyond reasoning with his heart, i.e. ďI just want to love God,Ē 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 Piís fervor.
CHAPTERS 27 and 28
Pi parents discuss their sonís religious issues, contrasting Indiaís political progress under ďMrs. GandhiĒ (Indira Gandhi) with Piís spiritual progress. They conclude that this phase of Piís life will pass, just as Mrs. Gandhi and her ďfoolishnessĒ will pass. They give in to Piís 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.
Piís 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.
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. Gandhiís 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.
During the mid-1970ís there were food shortages, high inflation, and political corruption in India. Indira Gandhi ďsolvedĒ 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 Piís father so, and the basis for his decision to emigrate.
The author meets Piís 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 Piís house all along, but now sees that there is evidence of married life as well. He suspects it might be Piís 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.
Again the author interjects reality to give the reader insight into Piís personality and also to solidify his credibility. These author-narrated chapters convey that the conversations with Pi are real events, not just storytelling.