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What are the significant events in each part of Life of Pi?

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Xhesida | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 26, 2013 at 5:56 PM via web

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What are the significant events in each part of Life of Pi?

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dftbap | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted September 16, 2013 at 4:42 PM (Answer #1)

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Let us look at the “significant events” of Life of Pi in terms of its plot elements.

The exposition introduces the characters and the setting.  It is most often found at the beginning.  Therefore, the exposition of Life of Pi can be found in Part I.  In fact, this novel has a super long exposition.  We learn about Pi in India.  We learn about Pi’s name, Pi’s family, Pi’s zoo, Pi’s thoughts on religion, and Pi’s thoughts about the containment of animals.  Perhaps the line that best exemplifies the exposition (and, therefore, Pi’s character) in Life of Pi is the line, “No small talk.”

When one speaks of the plot, the conflict of the story is the event that begins the character’s struggle in the novel.  In regards to Life of Pi, the conflict is incredibly clear.  In Part II, the line that presents the conflict is as follows:

The ship sank.

This is the very first line in Part II.  This is where the conflict begins the rising action of the novel.  Suddenly Pi’s “easy” life in India where his family owns a zoo is gone forever.  Suddenly, Pi’s focus switches from normal life to a life bent on one thing:  survival.

After the conflict, the rising action comprises the next part of the novel.  Part II of Life of Pi is all about rising action.  Only the first line of Part II contains the conflict.  This is the part of the plot where the happenings become more and more intense.  The rising action ceases only when the intensity reaches its height.  In Life of Pi, Pi’s life on the raft and his subsequent life with Richard Parker, the tiger are the events that make up the rising action of the story.  The reader is kept in suspense in many ways, but the most important question that will continually pop up in the reader’s mind is as follows:  Will Pi survive?

The very end of Part II is what contains the climax of Life of Pi which is not necessarily Pi’s landing in Mexico (ensuring his survival), but his burst of emotion as his shipmate, Richard Parker, disappears unceremoniously into the jungle, without even looking back. 

Then, Richard Parker, companion of my torment, awful, fierce thing that kept me alive, moved forward and disappeared forever from my life.

In my opinion, this is the height of the action.  Without Richard Parker, Pi would not have survived.  Now Pi MUST survive without his life-long shipmate companion.  His life changes here.  Depression becomes involved.  This leads us to the next element of plot.

The falling action begins with the first line of Part III in Life of Pi. This part contains Pi recuperation, his visit from the Japanese men of the Maritime Department, his creation of the “second story,” and the reversion into the frame story.

The resolution in a novel involved when the original problem is solved and/or the goal has been accomplished. The ultimate resolution of the plot occurs at the very end of the book, specifically in Chapter 99 at the end of Part III.  Pi has told his story, has told his second (less interesting story to the Japanese men), and he has asked which story is preferable.  The resolution of this novel is one line: “And so it goes with God.”  There is more than one answer to any problem.  The sinking of the ship, the original conflict, happened for a reason.  Many, many people coming to this conclusion (the resolution) was the point of it all.

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