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The Life of Pi Chapters 21 - 36. Summary & Analysis. Chapter Summary. Sitting in a café after a meeting with Pi The author considers his own mundane life Some thoughts about Pi’s religious philosophies The final deathbed moments of an atheist, taking a “leap of faith” at the last minute.

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The life of pi chapters 21 36

The Life of PiChapters 21 - 36

Summary & Analysis

Chapter summary
Chapter Summary

  • Sitting in a café after a meeting with Pi

  • The author considers his own mundane life

  • Some thoughts about Pi’s religious philosophies

  • The final deathbed moments of an atheist, taking a “leap of faith” at the last minute.

  • The tiresome rationalizing of an agnostic

Chapter summary1
Chapter Summary

  • The priest, imam, and pandit with whom Pi had been practicing his various religions approached Pi at a seaside esplanade

  • Shocked to discover that Pi was not just a Hindu, Christian, or Muslim, but rather all three simultaneously

  • The religious figures protested and demanded that Pi choose a single religion

Chapter summary2
Chapter Summary

  • Pi : just wanted to love God.

  • People who act out in violence or anger in the name of god misunderstand the true nature of religion

  • Asking his father and mother for a prayer mat

Chapter summary3
Chapter Summary

  • Flustering with his ideas, his mother attempted to distract him with books: Robinson Crusoe and a volume by Robert Louis Stevenson

  • Pi came to treasure his rug. He was baptized in the presence of his parents.

Chapter summary4
Chapter Summary

  • 1970s: a difficult time in India due to political troubles

  • His father became incensed over the government’s actions

  • Decided to move his family to Canada — a place completely foreign to Pi and Ravi.

Chapter summary5
Chapter Summary

  • The one-time meeting of the two Mr. Kumars, the atheist biology teacher and the Muslim baker

  • They joined Pi for an outing at the Pondicherry Zoo, when Pi introduced them to a Grant’s zebra

  • Neither had ever seen an exotic zebra before, but both were in awe of the splendid creature

Chapter summary6
Chapter Summary

  • Discussion of zoomorphism: when an animal sees another animal, or even another human, as being of its own kind.

  • The truth: the lion cubs know the dog is not their mother, and the lions know the human is a human, not a lion

  • These animals know the truth, but they embrace the fiction because they are also in need of stories to get through life

Chapter summary7
Chapter Summary

  • In preparation for the move to Canada

  • Mr. Patel sold off many zoo creatures

  • Made arrangements to bring some of them across the Pacific in a cargo ship with the family

  • Set sail on June 21, 1977

  • The apprehension of Pi’s mother about leaving the place she has lived all her life to travel into the unknown


  • Begins with two of the most important phrases in the entire text: “dry, yeastless factuality” and “the better story”

  • Their significance is underscored: they are repeated within two pages

  • The two phrases are opposite poles on the spectrum of storytelling.


  • Boring reality VS a version of reality that has been enlivened by imagination, improving the story (risen bread)

  • When presented in these terms, it is easy to see which is the more tempting

  • The risen bread is far more appetizing, while the flattened, yeastless option looks about as appealing to eat as cardboard


  • Deep-seated and natural instinct: The compulsion to invent a better story, to improve one’s reality and make it more livable

  • Even animals do it, whether unconsciously or not


  • Faced either with life as an orphan or life with a foster mother, what lion cub wouldn’t accept a dog as a maternal figure?

  • The fiction improves his life immeasurably


  • Saving grace of a myth or story to enrich “yeastless” factuality

  • Believing in a story requires a leap of faith