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Free Study Guide for Life of Pi by Yann Martel-Book Notes/Summary
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ANSWER KEY

1.b
2.c
3.a
4.a
5.c
6.b
7.c
8.a
9.c
10.a
11.a
12.b
13.b
14.a
15.c

ESSAY TOPIC IDEAS / BOOK REPORT IDEAS


1. Relate Piscine’s nickname, Pi, to elements of the story and/or themes of the novel.

2. What role does Richard Parker play in the story?

3. How does Father’s lesson about the nature of animals in Chapter 8 figure in to the rest of the story?

4. How is the distinction made between religious beliefs and faith in the story?

5. What does Pi say about fear? Is he able to defeat his own fear?

6. Describe how the “Bank of Karma” works.

7. At what point in the story did you realize that Richard Parker was a tiger? What is the significance of his human name?

8. How might the perceptions of Life of Pi differ for readers of different religions?

9. Whose voice do you hear telling the story? Why is this significant?

10. Does this story have the “happy ending” promised in Chapter 36?

11. Which of Pi’s stories do you believe? Why?

COMMENT ON THE STUDY OF LITERATURE

The study of literature is not like the study of math or science, or even history. While those disciplines are based largely upon fact, the study of literature is based upon interpretation and analysis. There are no clear-cut answers in literature, outside of the factual information about an author’s life and the basic information about setting and characterization in a piece of literature. The rest is a highly subjective reading of what an author has written; each person brings a different set of values and a different background to the reading. As a result, no two people see the piece of literature in exactly the same light, and few critics agree on everything about a book or an author.

In this study guide, we have tried to give an objective literary analysis based upon the information actually found in the novel, book, or play. In the end, however, it is an individual interpretation, but one that we feel can be readily supported by the information that is presented in the guide. In your course of literature study, you or your professor/teacher may come up with a different interpretation of the mood or the theme or the conflict. Your interpretation, if it can be logically supported with information contained within the piece of literature, is just as correct as ours; so is the interpretation of your teacher or professor.

Literature is simply not a black or white situation; instead, there are many gray areas that are open to varying analyses. Your task is to come up with your own analysis that you can logically defend. Hopefully, these MonkeyNotes will help you to accomplish that goal.

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