Life of Pi Part 1 (Toronto and Pondicherry) Chapters 10 - 18 Summary

     In chapter 10, Pi talks about reasons of animal escape from zoos. He says that an animals do not escape to somewhere, but from something, which means that, if conditions are right, animals will not have any reason to leave their cage. He gives an example of the female black leopard who escaped from the Zurich zoo in 1933. She seemed to get along with the male leopard until injuries proved the zoo staff wrong. Before they had any opportunity to react, the leopard escaped the cage and roamed freely for ten weeks before a laborer shot her. During that time no one had seen her, nor she had attacked anyone.

     In Chapter 12, the intrusive narrator breaks the story flaw with the further information about the man. He says that this person wants to tell his story, often mentioning Richard Parker. In addition, the food he prepares is too spicy.

     Chapter 13 goes back to Pi's narration. He says that animals do not attack humans because of hunger, but because humans invade their territory. In animal world, it's all about the social rank. The higher social rank, the more dominant figure. In circus, for example, the trainer is higher in rank than a lion. He proves it by entering the circle before animals, while they are watching him. This establishes the relation between them and prevents possible attack. During the show, the trainer does the tricks with animals lowest in ranks, while the others are watching. Inferior animals are the most faithful, since they seek protection from the superior animals.

     Chapter 15 returns to intrusive narrator. He says that this man's house is like a temple. He holds Ganesha's picture in the entrance hall, a small framed picture of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe in the living room, next to the Kaaba, the holiest saint in Islam. In other rooms there are more pictures of Indian, Christian and Islam gods, along with books written in Arabic next to the Bible.

     In chapter 16 Pi admits that he had difficulties to find the religion that would suit him, which matches the variety of saints in the house of still unknown person whom the intrusive narrator is talking about. He wonders if everyone in this world is born like Catholics, who lose their faith in God along life's way. Even if it is so, his case is different, because his aunt, Rohini, decided to take him on a seven hour journey to visit a Hindu temple while he was just a baby. In a way, this was Piscine's samskara, the Hindu concept of imprinting memory to subconscious. He says that his aunt certainly was the most influential person in his religious life, as she was the one who sown a seed of religion in him, which has never stopped growing.

     He consider himself a Hindu because he was born in that environment, surrounded by that religion, its symbols and rituals. It is the religion that makes his heart skip a beat, for it is his home. When he mentioned Hare Krishna to a Canadian woman some time ago, she misheard it as "hairless Christians," but that did not offense Piscine, who explained her that she was actually right, since Hindus indeed are hairless Christians in capacity for love, just as Muslims, who see God in everything. This is an introduction in Piscine's religion diversity, since Chapter 17 explains how he met other religions.

     Pi believes that Lord Krishna brought him to Jesus Christ. It all started when his parents took him and his brother to Munnar for a holiday. On one occasion, Pi noticed a Christian church on a side of the hill and decided to visit it. The church was quiet with one priest inside. Although he expected to be chased away, this did not happen, therefore he continued to explore the interior of the church, trying to get a clue what were all those paintings about. The following day he came back again. This time he got the opportunity to meet the priest who was very kind to Pi, offering him a cup of tea. Father Martin told him the story about Jesus Christ and his sacrifice, but it was hard for Piscine to understand how could God be killed, or why there were no more stories about the God, as in Hindu religion. The answer to every question was very simple- love. That is how the priest described Christianity to Pi, but it was incomprehensible for the fourteen-year-old boy. He decided to stick to Krishna, as he could not understand the new religion, although something about it attracted him even more. On the last day of his visit to Munnar, Pi ran to the church and exclaimed that he would like to be a Christian. The priest replied that he was a Christian already.

     Chapter 18 describes how he discovered Islam, a year later. While exploring his town, he ran into a Muslim quarter. He noticed a peek at the Jamia Masjid and entered it, although he had heard the Islam to be even worse than Christianity for fewer gods and greater violence. He found nothing religious inside the building, just one man sitting cross-legged. He offered Pi a piece of bread and showed him how it was made. The muezzin called to prayer, so he interrupted himself in the middle of sentence and went praying. Piscine was puzzled with the process of praying, concluding it was nothing but an exercise, where one bended, knelt and stood up.

     The next time he went to church to pray, he could not stop thinking about the man praying among bags of flour.

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