Life of Pi

by: Yann Martel

Suggested Essay Topics

Religion is of utmost importance to Pi. Discuss the role of religion in his life and how it helps him survive his ordeal.

Naming and names are significant in this novel—Pi’s own name is elaborately explained, and Richard Parker gets his name through a clerical error. How is naming relevant to the novel’s main themes?

In light of the fact that this is a novel about imagination, why does Martel begin with the Author’s Note, which gives the impression that Pi’s account is truth, not fiction?

One of the ways that Pi keeps himself sane and occupied while alone in the middle of the ocean is by writing in his journal. What does his journaling say about the human need for communication?

The two Japanese officials who interview Pi don’t believe that he really landed on a man-eating island. When they say that carnivorous trees and fish-eating algae do not exist, Pi responds, “Only because you’ve never seen them.” What does this exchange say about human understanding of what is real and possible?

Why does Pi give two accounts of his ordeal? Which is the true story, and which one would you rather believe?