HomeLiterature Study GuidesLife Of PiPart 1 Chapters 3436 Summary

Life of Pi | Study Guide

Yann Martel

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Life of Pi | Part 1, Chapters 34–36 : Toronto and Pondicherry | Summary

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Summary

Part 1, Chapter 34

As they prepare to move to Canada, the Patels sell the zoo. They need to find homes for all the animals at other zoos around the world. The process is long and difficult. To make matters worse, Pi and Ravi don't want to move to Canada. Many of the zoo animals are finally sold to enthusiastic Americans.

Part 1, Chapter 35

Pi's family embarks on a Japanese cargo ship named the Tsimtsum, headed for Canada, on June 21, 1977. They say good-bye to friends and neighbors. Adult Pi imagines his mother's sadness upon leaving and her curiosity about how life will be different in Canada. Teenage Pi is excited for the boat journey, which he's sure will be an adventure. As an adult he mentions things didn't turn out the way the family planned.

Part 1, Chapter 36

The writer is visiting Pi's house when he notices a teenage boy he's never seen before—Pi's son Nikhil, who goes by "Nick." The writer notices other residents for the first time, too. Pi has a dog, an orange cat, and a young daughter named Usha. As Pi and his daughter talk lovingly, the writer notes, "This story has a happy ending."

Analysis

The challenge of selling the zoo increases the sense of excitement, anticipation, and anxiety for the Patel family. It also gives Pi another opportunity, which he never passes up, to show the reader the diversity of animal life and the intricacies of animal care.

Pi's memory is tinged with sadness now, though he can't help showing some retroactive excitement at the possibility of adventure. He can understand his mother's homesickness more as an adult. She's territorial, not wanting to escape her familiar ancestral homeland. She even feels a devotion to the brands that made up her childhood. She feels she isn't escaping to somewhere but from something. Young Pi feels his childhood is over. He's embarking on a journey, both literal and metaphorical, and he thinks he knows what it will look like.

This picture of typical middle-class domesticity in Part 1, Chapter 36 comes with trappings of modern life—a child dressed for baseball practice, a mother who works as a pharmacist. Nothing seems unusual about Pi's Canadian life. He even has pets, which seems obvious considering his love of animals.

But other details presented here tie in to Pi's extraordinary story. The orange cat reflects Richard Parker. The writer gives Pi's full name, mentioning he's "known to all" as Pi. Even though the reader knows the chronological ending of the story before the hero's biggest trials begin, the story to come is filled with expectation, surprise, and still-unanswered questions.

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