Yann martel published his life of pi in 2001
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Yann Martel published his Life of Pi in 2001. He came to Phoenix in 2004, and made several speeches. He said his goal was to entice people away from their pre-conceived ideas of the world. Yann Martel’s Life of Pi. Won Britain’s Booker Prize. Was our state’s 2004 One-Book Arizona.

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Yann martel published his life of pi in 2001

Yann Martel published his Life of Pi in 2001.

He came to Phoenix in 2004, and made several speeches.

He said his goal was to entice people away from their pre-conceived ideas of the world.


Yann martel s life of pi

Yann Martel’s Life of Pi

  • Won Britain’s Booker Prize.

  • Was our state’s 2004 One-Book Arizona.

  • Was on the New York Times best seller list for several months.

  • In 2012 was made into a major motion picture.


Yann martel published his life of pi in 2001

In discussing prototype theory, Linguist George Lakoff points to two kinds of language: Straight and Playful, for which he uses the terms prototypical and marked.

Linguist Del Hymes has explained that Marked Language is used to communicate extra information about the Setting, Participants, Ends, Act-Sequences, Key (tone or mood), Instrumentalities (singing, chanting…), Norms (expectations), and Genres. Martel’s names are marked in that they carry “extra” information that lends power to the story.


Yann martel published his life of pi in 2001

Pi’s father was the manager of the Zoo in Pondicherry, India so we know that 16-year-old Pi has grown up with animals and knows a lot about them, but still as the story unfolds we have to engage in a “suspension of disbelief.


Yann martel published his life of pi in 2001

William Harmon and Hugh Holman define the “suspension of disbelief” as the willingness to withhold questions about truth, accuracy, or probability in a work. This willingness to suspend doubt makes possible the temporary acceptance of an author’s imaginative world. The Life of Pi is about this suspension of disbelief as defined by literary critics, and also as it might be used by religious scholars.


Language play

LANGUAGE PLAY

  • Martel’s Life of Pi is filled with onomastic language play.

  • This language play allows Martel to be symbolic, ironic, metaphorical, sarcastic, and satirical.


How pi got his name piscine molitor patel

How Pi Got His Name, PISCINE MOLITOR PATEL

  • As an interesting example of marked language, Martel starts this survival-at-sea story with a water-related story of how Pi got his name.

  • Pi explains, “I was named after a swimming pool. Quite peculiar considering my parents never took to water.” (pages 11-12) (Note the foreshadowing.)

  • Mamaji, Pi’s father’s business partner and friend of the family, was a world class swimming champion, and his favorite swimming pool was the Piscine Molitor in Paris where he had competed in the Olympics.


Yann martel published his life of pi in 2001

  • In school, Piscine had trouble with his strange name. Some people thought that he was an Indian Sikh by the name of “P. Singh.”

  • Pi’s classmates called him Pissing Patel, and they would ask “Where’s Pissing? I’ve got to go,” or they would say, “You’re facing the wall. Are you Pissing?”

  • After these taunts, “the sound would disappear, but the hurt would linger, like the smell of piss long after it has evaporated.”

  • Even the teachers would forget to use his full name and would call on him with “Yes, Pissing” (p. 20-23).


Yann martel published his life of pi in 2001

  • This lasted through all the years at St. Joseph’s elementary school.

  • On the first day at Petit Séminaire (high school), when it came time for each student to announce his name, Piscine went to the chalkboard and wrote:

  • MY NAME IS

  • PISCINE MOLITOR PATEL,

  • KNOWN TO ALL AS

  • PI PATEL(Martel 20-23).


For good measure he added

For good measure, he added

π = 3.14

  • Then he drew a large circle and sliced it in two “with a diameter to evoke the basic lesson of geometry.” (pp. 20-23)

  • Pi’s older brother teased him for being so fond of yellow that he changed his name to Lemon Pie.


Names to allude to whole belief systems

NAMES to allude to whole belief systems

  • As part of the religious theme in the book, Pi tells readers about Mr. Kumar, “the first avowed atheist” Pi knew. He was one of Pi’s teachers and would come to visit the Pondicherry Zoo so he could admire the animals, and view nature as “a triumph of logic and mechanics” (p.25)

  • To Mr. Kumar’s ears, when an animal felt the urge to mate, it said “Gregor Mendel,” recalling the father of genetics, and when it was time to show its mettle, “Charles Darwin,” the father of natural selection, and what we took to be bleating, grunting, hissing, snoring, roaring, growling, howling, chirping and screeching were but the thick accents of foreigners (p. 26).

  • Pi’s other favorite teacher was also named Mr. Kumar, so throughout the book readers smile when Pi alludes to “Mr. and Mr. Kumar.”


The family s grand adventure

The Family’s Grand Adventure

  • Pi’s father decides the family should emigrate to Canada.

  • So Pi, his parents, his older brother Ravi, and the most valuable of the zoo animals prepare to sail across the Pacific Ocean aboard the Tsimtsum, a Panamaniaan-registered Japanese cargo ship.

  • Again Martel uses names to indicate the mother’s hesitation just before boarding.


Names connected to india

Names Connected to India

  • Pi’s mother, dressed in her most beautiful sari, is sad to be leaving India. She points to a cigarette wallah and earnestly asks, “Should we get a pack or two?”

  • Her husband, responds, “They have tobacco in Canada, And why do you want to buy cigarettes? We don’t smoke” (p. 90-91).

  • Martel regularly used Indian (marked) names as a reminder that he is telling a story about a family from Pondicherry, India.


Yann martel published his life of pi in 2001

  • Pi wistfully explains: “Yes, they have tobacco in Canada—but do they have Gold Flake cigarettes? Do they have Arun ice cream? Are the bicycles Heroes? Are the televisions Onidas? Are the cars Ambassadors? Are the bookshops Higginbothams?”

  • Such… were the questions that swirled in Pi’s Mother’s mind as she contemplated buying cigarettes (Martel 90-91).


Yann martel published his life of pi in 2001

But Alas, the family doesn’t make it to Canada. The great ship sinks into the Pacific with “a sound like a great metallic burp.

  • Pi had been awake and so made it to a life boat.

  • From the lifeboat Pi saw something, and cried, “Richard Parker, is that you? It’s so hard to see. Oh, that this rain would stop! Richard Parker? Richard Parker? Yes, it is you!”


The arrival of richard parker

The Arrival of RICHARD PARKER

  • Pi is a Christian, but he is also a Muslim and a Hindu, and when he first sees Richard Parker, he shouts “Jesus, Mary, Muhammad and Vishnu, how good to see you, Richard Parker!”

  • “I could see his head. He was struggling to stay at the surface of the water…. He had seen me. He looked panic-stricken. He started swimming my way. The water about him was shifting wildly. He looked small and helpless.”

  • “Richard Parker, can you believe what has happened to us? Tell me it’s a bad dream. Tell me it’s not real. Tell me I’m still in my bunk on the Tsimtsum… and I’ll soon wake up from this nightmare.” (p. 97).


Yann martel published his life of pi in 2001

Pi suddenly realizes that he does not want to share his future with Richard Parker even though Richard Parker is the only familiar thing Pi sees swimming in the water. Richard Parker is a 450 pound Bengal Tiger. By the time Pi comprehends what this means, he has already thrown out a life buoy and the tiger is pulling himself onto the boat, and so begins the “real” survival story.


How richard parker got his name

How Richard Parker Got His Name

  • Richard Parker was named as the result of a clerical error. A panther had been terrorizing the Khulna district of Bangladesh. Among those searching for him was a hunter named Richard Parker.

  • He came upon a tiger and its cub, which he took to the train station for delivery to the Pondicherry zoo. The shipping clerk was so befuddled by all the commotion that he mistakenly filled in the blanks to show that the tiger cub’s name was Richard Parker, the hunter’s first name was Thirsty, while his family name was None Given (Martel 90-91).


Orange juice a more welcome survivor comes floating in on a great bunch of bananas

Orange Juice, A More Welcome Survivor comes floating in on a great bunch of bananas.

  • In his excitement, Pi cries “Oh blessed Great Mother, Pondicherry fertility goddess, provider of milk and love, wondrous arm spread of comfort, terror of ticks, picker-up of crying ones, are you to witness this tragedy too?”


Yann martel published his life of pi in 2001

Pi, tries to train Richard Parker so that they can share the lifeboat, but first he has to make himself a separate floating device, while he figures out an ingenious way to manage the training.


The pi patel indo canadian trans pacific floating circuuuuussssssssss

THE PI PATEL, INDO-CANADIAN, TRANS-PACIFIC, FLOATING CIRCUUUUUSSSSSSSSSS!!!

  • After a rainstorm has left water in the bottom of the boat, Pi cautiously dips his beaker into what he calls “Parker’s Pond,” and feels terribly threatened.

  • Then he decides that the only way he can survive on his strange “Noah’s Ark,” is to train Richard Parker as though he were a circus animal, so Pi goes through the patter of a barker welcoming his imaginary audience to “THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH,” hence the new name for his life boat (p. 165).


Yann martel published his life of pi in 2001

The hungrier Pi gets (eating only 2 biscuits every 8 hours) the more exaggerated became his dreams of food.

“The less I had to eat, the larger became the portions I dreamed of. My fantasy meals grew to be the size of India. A Ganges of Dhad soup. Hot chapattis the size of Rajasthan. Bowls of rice as big as Uttar Pradesh. Sambars to flood all of Tamil Nadu. Ice cream heaped as high as the Himalayas.”


Pi even names the whales that pass by bamphoo mumphoo tomphoo and stimphoo

Pi even names the whales that pass by: BAMPHOO, MUMPHOO, TOMPHOO AND STIMPHOO

He imagines what they are saying to each other:

“Oh! It’s that castaway with the pussy cat, Bamphoo was telling me about. Poor boy. Hope he has enough plankton. I must tell Mumphoo and Tomphoo and Stimphoo about him. I wonder if there isn’t a ship around I could alert. His mother would be very happy to see him again. Goodybye, my boy. I’ll try to help. My name’s Pimphoo.

And so through the grapevine, every whale of the Pacific knew of me” (p. 230).


More name play

More Name Play

  • Later in the book, when Pi is rescued and finally makes it to Canada, he tells his foster mother, a Québécoise, about Hare Krishnas . She misheard and thought they were “Hairless Christians.”

  • Pi explained that in fact she was not so wrong. Hindus, in their capacity for love are indeed hairless Christians, just as Muslims, in the way they see God in everything, are bearded Hindus, and Christians, in their devotion to God, are hat-wearing Muslims (p. 50).

  • Years later when Pi is an adult in Canada and orders a pizza, he doesn’t have the strength of explain his name and so answers the phone request with “I am who I am.” The pizza comes delivered to Ian Houlihan.


Yann martel published his life of pi in 2001

At the end of the novel, Pi is using the pen and the notebook he found in the survival kit to take stock of what he has on the boat. Here is his list.

  • 1 first-aid kit in a waterproof plastic case

  • 1 signaling mirror

  • 1 pack of filter-tipped Chinese cigarettes

  • 1 compass

  • 1 boy with a complete set of light clothing but for one lost shoe

  • 1 Bengal tiger

  • 1 lifeboat

  • 1 ocean

  • 1 God (p. 146).


As to the truth of the story maybe we can t choose until we ve walked in pi s shoes

As to “the truth” of the story maybe we can’t choose until we’ve walked in Pi’s shoes.


Yann martel published his life of pi in 2001

Life of Pi Web Sites:

Trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9Hjrs6WQ8M

Screen Rant about Ending:

http://screenrant.com/life-of-pi-movie-ending-spoilers/


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