Besides the loss of his family and possessions, what else did Pi lose when the Tsimtsum sank? What did he gain?

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Along with his family and possessions, Pi also loses his way of life, and his "normal" teenage problems are replaced with problems of life or death. Pi becomes completely isolated from the outside world, and he loses his connection to other human beings, his original sense of self, his connection to God and religion, and his certainty about the world. Instead, he gains a new sense of self and understanding of adversity through his adventure. 


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Gwen Lesch eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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When the Tsimtsum--the Japanese freighter that was intended to transport the Patels' animals to their new zoo in North America--sinks in the horrific storm, Pi Patel must cope with more than the loss of his loved ones and worldly possessions.

Pi is suddenly tossed into a state of complete isolation from the human world. Thrust out into the clutches of nature, Pi loses his original sense of self, his connection to other human beings and to his home (both his past home in India and the one meant to be his future home in Canada), his casual understanding of God and religion, and his sense of uncertainty about the world.

However, Pi also gains a new sense of self, an understanding of adversity and the tools to overcome it, a spiritual connection to the interdependence of all life forms, a reverence for the natural world, and many important personal qualities (resilience, ingenuity, patience, etc.).

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Quite simply, Pi also loses his way of life. Before the sinking of the Tsimtsum, Pi is struggling with typical coming-of-age ideas, especially religion. He is misunderstood by his family, but is handling life just fine. When his father decides to move the family business (the zoo) out of the area, this is when Pi's life changes. The Tsimtsum sinks, and Pi is forced to move from a life where he struggles with "normal" problems to the problem of survival.

Piscine Molitor Patel (who creates the nickname of "Pi" in order to prevent being called "pissing" and in order to exhibit his smarts) switches from the normal life of a young man into a teen fighting for survival on the ocean when the Tsimtsum sinks. Most of this survival (after the other animals are killed...

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gbeatty eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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mrsbrady-loves-to-educate | Student

In addition to things he has gained, I would say courage and perseverance. Getting through this trial, will make many things he encounters in the rest of his lifetime seem small and trivial in comparison. 

Sometimes the hardest company to keep is our own. Even though he had Richard Parker, he needed to trust and accept himself in order to survive.