Life of Pi, by Yann Martel

Location: Mrs. Walsh's Room

Group 1:
Brandon Moody
Jack Clayton
Alex Kurtz
Calvin Prescott
Carter Dorsett
Graeme Gengras
Karin Walsh

Life of Pi
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1. Introductions
2. Whip
a. What was the best part?
b. What did we think about the book?
c. How deep did you go into the book as far as your understanding

3. Characters:
Piscine Molitor Patel:
- Nickname is pi. He is the main character in the book. The book focus’s on his belief in religion. He is the son of a zoo keeper. He loves to read books. He is torn from his family when the boat that is taking them to Canada from India sinks. He’s family was moving to Canada from India because they were escaping political problems. They leave with there animals. When the ship sinks he is left on a raft with a tiger “Richard Parker”, a hyena, a zebra, and an orangutan. Ultimately, he is left with the tiger, Richard Parker.

What kind of significance is there to Pi's name and nickname?

Richard Parker: Bengal Tiger

Comparing/Contrasting Characters:

Pi vs. Ravi

Richard Parker vs. Hyena

Pi vs. Richard Parker

Mr. Kumar vs. Mr. Kumar

Pi vs. Religious Teachers

• How did each characters help to develop the story?
• Were their specific characters that you connected with and if so why?

4. Setting:
Pacific Ocean/Life boat
The Island
• How is the setting used to help develop the book?

5. Which themes seem to be the most prevalent?
a. The use of faith/religion as a way to keep hope in times of desperation
b. Survival
c. Animal roles
d. Clashing cultures

6. Three A’s Text Protocol
What parts of the text AFFECT you?

What do you AGREE with in the passages?

What do you ARGUE with in the text?

7. Does the book inspire you?

8. Passages
• What passage made the most impact?
a. What made this section so important?
b. Is their a specific theme discussed in the passage?
• Passage Path

I had an effect on Richard Parker. At the first blow of the whistle he cringed and he snarled. Ha! Let him jump into the water if he wanted to! Let him try!” pg. 165

Yann Martel said that chapters 21 and 22 (pgs. 63-64) are at the core of the novel. Why do you think this is?

9. Questions
• What specific questions do you have about the book?
• Leveled Question
What seasons was Pi afloat? Did this impact his survival?
How does the cover of the book represent Pi’s struggle?
Can anyone explain the floating island and what was happening there?
One review in the San Francisco Chronicle says that this book is "a real adventure: brutal, tender, expressive, dramatic, and disarmingly funny...." What, if anything, do you see as funny in the book?
Why did Martel choose to have himself (or a narrator? -- are they the same?) intertwined in the tellling of the book? What happens as a result?

Do you think that Pi’s survival is believable?
Do you think that it would be possible for an island, like the one Pi lands on, to exist?
Do you consider Pi a savage?
At one point, after the narrator meets Pi's four year-old daughter, he says, "this story has a happy ending." Do you agree or disagree, and why?
Why do you think Yann Martel chose to link zookeeping and religion in this book and with what effect? What's the link?

Does Pi’s survival remind you of anything that has happened in this world?
Do you think Life of Pi could be successfully made into a movie?
Which, if either of the two stories Pi tells to the Japanese officials is true and why do you think so?
Should Martel have included the whole first third about Pi and his life before they boarded the ship to head to Canada?

10. What comments made today most affected you?

Outside Resources:
__Interview with Yann Martel__
__Discussion Blog__

1. Whip / Short disscussion
Describe the book in one word in a quick whip and then go back through and explain why you chose the word you did.

2. Talk about who your favorite character. Why is this character your favorite? what impact did they have on the story and the plot of the story.

3. Discuss any parts of the book that stood out to you and why.

4. Discuss what you think the authors reasoning was (if any) behind the text? Did it make a statement? Why is this important to the text?

5. Start a discussion about something you thought was interesting about the book.

Pi Patel
Richard Parker
The Hyena
Orange Juice
Mr. Chiba
Mr. Okamoto

Would you read this book again?
How do you feel about the portrayal of characters
What was the upmost shocking event in the book?
What is the one thing about the book that is unclear or that doesnt seem to sit well with you?
How did the ending of the book make you feel? How was is helpful to you? What would you have done differently after reading the ending?
Why do you think Pi resorted to his belief that the passengers in the boat were animals?
Did you like the depth of the story? Did it seem to run-on a lot? If so, where?
If you could describe the book in one word what would it be?

Jack Clayton - Dialogue between two friends

Brock Enters Gym through front door. Brock steps onto the treadmill and notices Stanley who is bouncing on a large colorful rubber ball, before starting his machine.
Brock - Aloha, Stanley! How’s it going, pal? Or should I say “how’s it bouncing?!”
(Both share a hearty laugh) But seriously, your form has greatly improved since last week.
Stanley - Thanks, man. I’ve been watching a lot of instructional tapes at home, I think they really helped. You finish that book I lent you?
B - Life of Pi? Yeah it was fantastic! I loved the way Yann Martel accounted Pi’s incredible journey with such detail, to an almost horrific extent during the scenes when an animal devoured another. Especially when the Hyena ate it’s way INSIDE of the Zebra! That was totally radical.
S - Really? Because I hated it. I found it to be total snooze-fest! The story felt like it was dragging on far too long at several times. And the beginning of the novel was very irrelevant, when Martel should have begun with something exciting and attention-grasping! Not all of the talk about school, swimming, and how Pi wanted to follow Muslim, Judaism, and Christianity. The background on Pi’s father being a zookeeper was important because Pi survived on that lifeboat primarily because of the knowledge he learned from his father about how animals behave and how to keep them from becoming aggressive and tearing your face off. An Indian boy floating on a lifeboat, then on a pile of flotations devices, and lastly on a floating carnivorous, prairie dog, inhabited island in the middle of the Pacific for 200 and whatever days with limited supplies in the company of a Bengal Tiger is just too farfetched for me to believe.
B - First of all, why would you suggest a book to me that you didn’t even think was good? Stanley shrugs. And second, it was very interesting reading about Pi’s views on how all three religions, although all are unique and have their own practices, each one share’s many of the same values and teachings. As well as sharing the same god. It is also crucial to setting up how Pi survived his adventure. He is a boy of faith who gains a new view on God and his own existence. His religions give him the strength and eternal determination through the darkest and most hopeless times in the Pacific. I did not read the book as a magical fable of survival, but as a thrilling tale with lasting teachings of life and faith, maybe not in God, but in oneself.
S - Deep, man.

Graeme Gengras- Rewrite a Scene

All the days seemed to blur together during my horrible time on the lifeboat. After consuming the other three animals, there was nothing left for me to do but sleep. Occasionally, Pi would toss me a fish, but they were small and left me feeling even more famished. However, there’s one day that I will never forget. That day is what kept me from starving.
The beginning was just like any other; the gentle sway of the lifeboat was making my stomach churn, almost bringing me to the point of vomiting. At least, I thought, Pi hadn’t blown that damned whistle for a while. As I lay there idly, I suddenly heard Pi call my name.
“Richard Parker, blah blah blah blah,” he cried. He sounded very excited, so I lazily picked up my head and took a look in the direction of his voice. It was at that moment I realized that our boat had stopped moving. As my head cleared the side of the lifeboat, I caught a whiff of some unknown animal. The simple possibility of food combined with being able to step on solid ground prompted me to leap out of the boat and dart in to the woods on the island we had come across. As I ventured a little further inland, I began to hear small squeaking noises all around me. It almost alarmed me when a mob of little furry creatures slowly crept out of the woods and surrounded me, staring at me in amazement. At first I didn’t know what to do, but my ravenous hunger soon urged me to slaughter all of the little varmints and eat them whole; that is exactly what I ended up doing.
I pranced about the island devouring hordes of the little animals. To my surprise they didn’t even seem to be afraid of me. After I had eaten my fill, I found that there were still many dead bodies littering the forest floor. Since there were still so many left on the island, I decided it wouldn’t be worth the trouble to put the bodies somewhere safe.
As the sun drew closer and closer to the horizon, I noticed that my paws felt strangely itchy. I tried licking one of my paws, but as soon as I shifted the weight to my other three to do so the itching turned to searing pain. After half a minute or so, I felt pain wherever I walked. In a panic I dashed back to the lifeboat and hopped in, and the pain disappeared. From that moment on, I only ventured onto the island to feed on the seemingly endless supply of small animals. Whenever the sun got close to the horizon, I hurried back to the lifeboat for fear of getting hurt again. This repeated itself for a few days, until one day Pi just hopped back into the lifeboat and we departed. Despite the odd things that went on during my time on that island, I still bless those days and the food that they brought.

Alex Kurtz

Fear of not knowing what to do,
Fear of being too young to realize,
Fear for survival,
The fear of Richard Parker,
Or is it the cook?

Being thrown off board by dumb sailors,
He is kept alive by god's hope,
Struggling to understand,
He loses everything,
Moving, the ocean,
Fighting to find,

Too scared to admit
But too scared to believe it
The truth lies in fear

While investigators questioned his story,
Too young to have a clear mind,
Changing his story from one to another,
Keeping his hopes as “Richard Parker is free,"
They accept the story with animals without belief,
They are blinded by his struggles

Life of Pi:
In the View of a Zebra
By: Brandon Moody

Something is wrong, I can sense it. People are running and panicking. The boat seems to gradually getting closer to the water. The boat must be sinking. I’ve never been more scared of losing my life before. Being an animal makes it hard to do anything but run and see what will happen to me. Being stranded at sea makes it even harder considering I can’t swim. When I panic that’s all I can do is run, but I don’t know where to go or what to do. All I can think about is how me and everyone else on this ship are going to parish. All of a sudden I see a lifeboat and run toward it. A boy is sitting in the boat, with a tiger, hyena, and an orangoutang. I join them on the boat, but I notice that I am wounded from the sinking ship and hadn’t even noticed because of all the daze I was in. I was starting to remember when I was running on the boat I had tripped and hit my head making me dizzy and spraining my leg. Nonetheless Things were all of a sudden getting better for me, I mean I did live. But the fact that all those people and animals drowned will haunt me for the rest of my life.
Why did I get the keep my life while all the others passed away. Why me? I will continue to ask myself this from this moment out forever, but I need to move on. I need to focus on surviving. How am I going to eat? How am I going to co-habitat with these other animals and this boy? All of a sudden the boy gets scared, I think he thinks the hyena is going to eat him. In his freight he jumped off the life boat. I think he realized there were piranas in the water because I didn’t take him long to get back on the boat. The boat ride was very awkward I did not talk to the other animals much. At one point I talked to the orangoutang for a little bit and thats about it. “Do you know where we are?” I say. “No, but we are all doomed.” The panic in his voice shows me that he doesn’t want to talk. Bad communication isn’t the only issue on the lifeboat. I can tell everyone on the boat is getting hungry, because I myself am starving we need to get some food and fast. This is making me very nervous because what would the hyena or the tiger eat? me! Right as this thought goes through my head I see the hyena coming towards me, there is hunger in his eyes. He lunged at me, I knew if I didn’t defend myself now I was a goner. I put up a fight but in the end my injuries held me back. My life is on the line; I was giving it my all but it isn’t enough. One good bite on my legs and I am down. I feel all my blood rushing to the wound. I am getting very queazy. I am starting to lose consciousness when I felt another bite on my throat, I am gone. I am passed out, but not just for a little bit. Permanently. After all I’ve been through, who would have thought this would be the way I’d die? I was surely to starve but no, instead I was eaten alive. Death is unpredictable, and I gave everything for my life and thats all that mattered. I had a good life; there’s nothing else I could have asked for. I hold no grudge against the hyena because he was jus trying to protect his life as we all are. Life is something that’s worth protecting, and it really shows a lot about a person to see how far they will go to keep it.

Carter Dorsett:

Contrast Between a Book Lover and Critic
(Reaction to Martel’s Life of Pi)
Carter: Hey Jill! You’re reading Life of Pi? I just finished it, it was great! What do you think?
Jill: I honestly really didn’t like it. I hated the author’s writing style. He explained everything to us as if we are children.
Carter: What? You’re crazy! The way the author bounced back and forth between memory, diary, and present day was brilliant.
Jill: Maybe to your amateur literary skills. I thought the author really had trouble creating seamless transitions between present and past.
Carter: Well you had to at least like the main character. He was just a peaceful religious boy in a really crazy situation.
Jill: Like him! I couldn’t stand him. His feeble attempts at humbleness and humility were laughable. He was the most narcissistic main character I have ever read about and kept pretending he was modest. That’s another thing, his religions all contradict themselves. He could never be a good Christian, Hindu, or Muslim because he would be violating beliefs in each one by practicing the others!
Carter: I thought it was creative how he was searching for a god so hard that he picked up two more religions.
Jill: Yeah, well you’re a simpleton. I have to go to class. See you around.

Into the Sea
(Reaction to Yann Martel’s Life of Pi) View of Richard Parker the Tiger
The wind whistled through my fur and past my ears, and the waves rose up towards me almost invitingly, as I began my descent towards the sea below. Minutes earlier I had been confined to my cell, locked up as a prisoner. When suddenly I had been released, and in my exuberance leapt off this floating island.
Gracefully I dove into the water, even as the current and waves swept me off my course. After so much unfamiliarity, it was comforting being back in my own element, back in the water. Waves crashed over my head repeatedly, and I bobbed up in down with the force of each one. From the crest of one, I could see across the surface of the water, jagged and changing with the force of the storm. My instincts took over.
My head rose from the water, and I blinked to clear the ocean from my eyes. Water ran down my face, matting my fur and creating droplets on my whiskers. The cloaking darkness hid most chances of survival from my sight, luckily I had other tools at my disposal. Breathing deeply through my nose, I sifted through the myriad of different smells I was met with. Sea water...Smoke...Blood. And then a scent I was not expecting. A familiar one, long before I associated it with being fed...but I also knew that the bearer of the scent could be eaten. Intrigued, I followed my sense of smell towards the unknown target.