LIFE OF PI - elwoodenglish12

Section A:
Text Response
 Respond
to this section second, after
Section C
 Read and digest the topics VERY carefully,
be aware of the FOCUS of the questions
and what TYPE of questions they are
 Your response should NOT be under 2
pages. Aim for 3-4 pages
 Demonstrates
a close and perceptive reading
of the text, exploring complexities of its
concepts and construction.
 Demonstrates an understanding of the
implications of the topic, using an
appropriate strategy for dealing with it, and
exploring its complexity from the basis of the
 Develops a cogent, controlled and wellsubstantiated discussion using precise and
expressive language.
– you do not have to repeat the
quote in your response, but you MUST
acknowledge its meaning and context
not be tempted to include yourself or
become argumentative. Don’t sit on the
fence but also allow yourself to discuss
multiple interpretations
DOES THE AUTHOR – Asking you to
reference the construction of the text, to
use the novel’s conventions and author’s
style as the basis of your discussion.
 DISCUSS – Present the most sophisticated
ideas in a discursive fashion
Be judgmental
Be complimentary to the
Ignore parts of the topic
Retell the plot
Try and use everything you
 How
does Martel, in his text ‘Life of Pi’,
suggest that a ‘better story’ is more
important than the truth?
= Values (with themes of
storytelling and reality)
 TYPE = ‘How does the author’ and Quote
 Richard
Parker is essential to Pi’s survival.
= Character (with ideas of survival)
 TYPE = Discuss
 “We
believe what we see.” To what extent
is sensory belief questioned in ‘Life of Pi’?
– Themes/Ideas (belief, religion,
storytelling, science)
 TYPE – ‘To what extent’ and Quote
 Identify
FOCUS and TYPE of topic
 Identify key terms in topic
 Brainstorm the MOST sophisticated ideas,
not necessarily the most rehearsed or
 Determine paragraph ideas
 Link Quotes, Values and Structural
Features to your ideas
 Pi
survives because of his faith; his faith
gives him the ability to have hope.
 However, Pi’s ability to have faith in
multiple religions (something quite out of
the ordinary) is questioned at the
beginning by those who hold faith in only
one religion.
 It is possible that Pi survives his time at sea
because of his ability to have faith in all
possibilities (where others don’t).
 Pi,
and in essence, Martel, points out (via
discussions about agnostics) that it is
important to believe in something; to have
faith in one’s convictions.
 The reader is not forced to believe Pi’s tale
of survival – but by the end are asked to
question their own ideas on what is
 While the text is designed to ‘make you
believe in God’, it is also implied that God
is everywhere and especially in miraculous
events and undiscovered territory.
 The
text is carefully crafted to stimulate the
reader’s belief in the characters and the
events that take place.
 Okamoto and Chiba are the reader’s
‘reality check’ – however they are painted
as foolish, bumbling and unspiritual. Here
though, the reader is not judged for
believing Pi’s tale or not – but they are
asked to acknowledge the possibility of
things beyond their realm of belief.
 Pi’s
prayers help create routine – and as a
scientist he believes in the logic of order
 While it is possible that RP represents fear,
it is also possible that he represents a God
 Pi’s love of storytelling stems from his
passion for religion. If Pi’s alternate story,
where he is RP, is the true version of
events, then his ability to create such a
protective and wild fantasy is a result of
his religious beliefs.
 Pi
believes in ‘the harmony of order’.
 He is a scientist and was brought up to
believe in behavioural science, both of
animals and humans
 His name is symbolic of the irregular
relationship he has with religion and
science, as well as the endless possibilities
for both
 He survives by routine, lists, manuals and
Pi details how religion and zoos are no longer
in people’s ‘good graces’ – both are
misunderstood as places of captivity
 He also believes, scientifically, that man is the
‘most dangerous’ animal; that while animals
can be instinctively dangerous, man can be
purposely cruel.
 Although Pi knows the rules of
anthropomorphism, he is still disappointed
when RP leaves him so ‘unceremoniously’.
 Both disciplines that Pi end up studying in
Toronto, Zoology and Religion, are concerned
with mystery and wonder.
 RP’s
interaction with Pi is one of biological
 Their co-dependence brings Pi a sense of
 RP’s name gives the illusion of humanity
(and elements of humour to the
construction of the text)
 Pi mourns RP as not only one who ‘saved’
him, but also as the last link to his former
life and family
 If
the alternative story is the true version,
then RP is Pi’s created alter-ego.
 RP, represents all the ugly parts of Pi’s
survival. He commits murder, cannibalism,
and breaks religious convictions, on Pi’s
 He makes himself into a Bengal Tiger, the
most ferocious animal in the zoo.
 Once he hits dry land, he no longer needs
to hide behind RP – and this side of Pi is
never seen again.
The three sections and exactly 100 chapters
reflect Pi’s belief in order
 The ‘author’s note’ as a deceptive tool – uses
thank yous and confessions as credibility
 Humour as a celebration of life and all it’s
avenues, possibilities and characters
 Pi’s time in Pondicherry spoon-feeds the
reader ‘facts’ to make his survival more
believable. Eg, focus on swimming, lessons
about alpha-male behaviour and territory
 Pi’s voice has a matter-of-fact quality that
contrasts sharply with the tale he is relating
 Good
stories stretch a reader’s ability to
suspend disbelief
 Stories are adapted to suit their context;
you can take from them whatever
meaning you wish
 Language, particularly words, are
important in the storytelling process. They
can be chosen for their meaning (‘Pi’), their
nuance (‘Richard Parker’) or their sonic
effect (‘figment’, ‘fig’).
 It
is important to believe in something
 Belief and Reason are more closely related
than most believe
 Science and Religion have more in common
than people think – it is the dialogue, the
words, the semantics, that surround them
that make them seem so different.
 No one can survive alone
 Faith is ‘an opening up, a letting go, a deep
trust, a free act of love’
Life is important to fight for
 One would be foolish to only believe in what
they can see
 The small things, the smells in a house, or the
colours of the ocean, are beautiful, miraculous
and shouldn’t be missed
 Humans are the most dangerous creature yet
 Sometimes the ‘better story’ is more
important than the truth
 Pi and the author’s ‘hunger’ is for meaning;
stressing the importance of looking for more
to believe in, having a thirst for life (as
opposed to ‘dry, yeastless factuality’)
is possible

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