Life of Pi Quotes

     "My life is like a memento mori painting from European art: there is always a grinning skull at my side to remind me of the folly of human ambition. I mock this skull. I look at it and I say, 'You've got the wrong fellow. You may not believe in life, but I don't believe in death. Move on!'" (Chapter 1)

     Right from the beginning, Pi shows his mental strength and determination to beat the death. He clearly implies that he is not afraid of it, nor he will allow it to take over his life.

     "I have heard as much nonsense about zoos as I have about God and religion." (Chapter 4)

     It seems that Pi has his own beliefs that exceed the limits of average person. He refuses to follow the convention, and possess more knowledge of animals and religion than anyone else, which makes him confident to say that people are talking nonsense.

     "I know zoos are no longer in people's good graces. Religion faces the same problem. Certain illusions about freedom plague them both." (Chapter 4)

     Pi is talking about mind limitations people face because they refuse to look on things from the other angle. They believe that animals in zoos are suffering because they are limited in space, but they do not know that those animals are just fine in their cages, as they have water, food and enemy-free territory. Religion faces the same problem. Believers are limited only to gods preached by their religion, denying any other religion, which makes them imprisoned by their own faith.

     "We are all born like Catholics, aren't we-in limbo, without religion, until some figure introduces us to God?[...] That was not my case. The figure in question for me was as older sister of Mother's, of a more traditional mind, who brought me to a temple when I was a small baby." (Chapter 16)

     This is the start of Pi's pursuit for God. He believes that his aunt started the process by taking him to temple as a baby and that process never stopped.

     "All religions are true. I just want to love God." (Chapter 23)

     This is Pi's view of religion. He does not make a distinction among religions and gods, he believes in all of them and love all of them.

     "Why do people move? What makes them uproot and leave everything they've known for a great unknown beyond the horizon? [...] The answer is the same the world over: people move in the hope of a better life." (Chapter 29)

     After facing political difficulties in India, Pi's family decided to move to Canada. This quotation explains what made them take such steps.

     "She came floating on an island of bananas in a halo of light, as lovely as the Virgin Mary. The rising sun was behind her. Her flaming hair looked stunning." (Chapter 42)

     Although it seems that Pi is talking about the orangutan, this quotation is actually about his mother. In the real version of the story, Pi's mother reached the lifeboat as did the orangutan in the invented one. By comparing her to Virgin Mary, he shows his love and respect toward mother.

     "The poor dear looked so humanly sick! It is a particularly funny thing to read human traits in animals, especially in apes and monkeys, where it is so easy. Simians are the clearest mirrors we have in the animal world." (Chapter 45)

     Pi concludes this after observing orangutan's behavior. It seems that orangutan is the most emotional animal on the boat, unlike predators- the tiger or hyena. She has human traits, and suffers because of separation from her youngsters. In a way, she is like Pi himself, who also suffers for his family.

     "I speak in all modesty as I say this, but I discovered at that moment that I have a fierce will to live. It's not something evident, in my experience. Some of us give up on life with only a resigned sigh. Others fight a little, then lose hope. Still others- and I am one of those- never give up." (Chapter 53)

     Another quotation that shows how determined Pi is to survive. Conditions on the boat deteriorate, there is lack of water and food, his family is dead, but Pi does not give up.

     "It came as an unmistakable indication to me of how low I had sunk the day I noticed, with a pinching of the heart, that I ate like an animal, that this noisy, frantic, unchewing wolfing-down of mine was exactly the way Richard Parker ate." (Chapter 82)

     Pi's strong will to survive turned him into a beast. Hunger and fight over the territory made him as bestial as Richard Parker. Besides, this comparison is the obvious indication that Pi feels like Richard Parker, i.e. that the tiger is his alter ego.

     "'Both the zebra and Taiwanese sailor broke a leg, did you notice that?'

     'No, I didn't.'

     'And the hyena bit off the zebra's leg just as the cook cut off the sailor's.'


     'So the Taiwanese sailor is the zebra, his mother is the orang-utan, the cook is...the hyena- which means he's the tiger!'

     'Yes. The tiger killed the hyena- and the blind Frenchman- just as he killed the cook.'" (Chapter 99)

     Mr. Okamoto and Mr. Chiba are the ones who immediately notice the parallel story. They are able to interpret and analyze Pi's story right away and reveal the meaning of those secret characters. However, they are not able to denote meerkats nor teeth wrapped in the tree leaves, leaving to readers to analyze and interpret it themselves.

Related Links:

Life of Pi Summary
Life of Pi Quiz
Life of Pi Part 3 (Benito Juárez Infirmary, Tomatlán, Mexico) Chapters 95 - 100 Summary
Life of Pi Part 1 (Toronto and Pondicherry) Chapters 1 - 9 Summary
Life of Pi Part 1 (Toronto and Pondicherry) Chapters 10 - 18 Summary
Life of Pi Important Characters
Literature Summaries

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