Life of Pi is divided into three sections. In the first section, the main character, Pi, an adult, reminisces about his childhood. He was named Piscine Molitor Patel after a swimming pool in France. He shortens his name to “Pi” when he begins secondary school, because he is tired of being teased with the nickname “Pissing Patel”. His father owns a zoo in Pondicherry, providing Pi with a relatively affluent lifestyle and some understanding of animal psychology.
Pi is raised a Hindu, but as a fourteen-year-old he exposes himself to Christianity and Islam, and starts to follow all three religions as he “just wants to love God.” He tries to understand God through the lens of each religion and comes to recognize benefits in each one.
Eventually, his family decides to sell their zoo over a land dispute with the government, and they decide to sell the animals to various zoos around the world before emigrating to Canada. In the second part of the novel, Pi’s family embarks on a Japanese freighter to Canada carrying some of the animals from their zoo, but a few days out of port from Manila, the ship sinks during a storm, resulting in his family’s death. During the storm, Pi escapes in a small lifeboat with a Bengal tiger, a spotted hyena, an injured Grant’s zebra, and an orangutan. Pi originally tried to help the tiger – Richard Parker – board the boat, but when he realized the danger of having a 450 lb. tiger on the boat, he tries his best to shoo the tiger away using two of the boat’s oars. The animal winds up boarding the lifeboat anyway. In his despair, Pi throws himself overboard into the ocean. Terrified of being in the raging, black, cold ocean that was also laden with sharks, Pi manages to re-board the lifeboat. He realizes Richard Parker has hidden himself somewhere on the boat; however, the other animals were still present.
As Pi strives to survive among the animals, the hyena kills the zebra, then the orangutan, much to Pi’s distress. At this point, it is discovered that Richard Parker – who had had been hiding under the boat’s tarpaulin – kills and eats the hyena. Frightened, Pi constructs a small raft out of rescue flotation devices, tethers it to the boat, and retreats to it. He delivers some of the fish and water he harvests to Richard Parker to keep him satisfied, conditioning Richard Parker not to threaten him by rocking the boat and causing seasickness while blowing a whistle. Pi quickly asserts himself as the alpha male and marks his territory on the boat by urinating in a small area of the boat. Eventually, Richard Parker learns to tolerate Pi’s presence and they both live in the boat.
Pi recounts various events while adrift, including discovering a floating island made up of carnivorous algae inhabited by meerkats. After 227 days, the lifeboat washes up onto the coast of Mexico and Richard Parker immediately escapes into the nearby jungle.
In the third part of the novel, two officials from the Japanese Ministry of Transport speak to Pi – who wound up being rescued in a small town in Mexico and was brought to a hospital to recuperate – to ascertain why the ship sank. When they do not believe his story, he tells an alternative story of human brutality, in which Pi was adrift on a lifeboat with his mother, a sailor with a broken leg, and the ship’s cook, who had verbally mistreated Pi’s mother before the ship sunk. The cook kills the sailor and Pi’s mother to use as bait and food. Pi, in turn, kills the cook. Parallels to Pi’s first story lead the Japanese officials to believe that the orangutan represents his mother, the zebra represents the sailor, the hyena represents the cook, and Pi is Richard Parker (the tiger).
After giving all the relevant information, Pi asks which of the two stories they prefer. Since the officials cannot prove which story is true and neither is relevant to the reasons behind the shipwreck, they choose the story with the animals. Pi thanks them and says, “and so it goes with God.
Richard Parker is a Bengal tiger that is stranded on the lifeboat with Pi when the ship sinks. Richard Parker lives on the lifeboat with Pi and is kept alive with the food and water Pi delivers. Richard Parker develops a relationship with Pi that allows them to coexist in their struggle.
In the novel, a hunter who captured a tiger was named Richard Parker. He intended to name the tiger Thirsty, because of the tiger’s long time drinking when he was found. In confusion when it was time for Richard Parker to catch a train ride to find Thirsty a home, the woman at the ticket counter thought the tiger’s name was Richard Parker, and the hunter’s name was Thirsty, with his last name being “None Given.” Pi and his father found the story so amusing, they kept the name for the tiger, who lived at the zoo.
Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel
1] Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel is the narrator and protagonist of the novel. He was named after a swimming pool in Paris, despite the fact that neither his mother nor his father particularly liked swimming. The story is told as a narrative from the perspective of a middle-aged Pi, now married to his own family, and living in Canada. At the time of main events of the story, he is sixteen years old. He recounts the story of his life and his 227-day journey on a lifeboat when his ship sinks in the middle of the Pacific Ocean during a voyage to North