In chapter 15 of Life of Pi, the narrator describes "the man's house."  What are the items in "the man's house"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The items in "the man's house" can be summed up in the first five words of the chapter:  "His house is a temple."  Everything in this house is conducive of accouterments found in a temple area.  Ironically, it is a temple of many religions, as Pi is himself.  In regards to the actual items, they are many and varied, representing many religions.  For argument's sake, let us say that there are six "major" items in addition to many other "minor" ones.  Every one of these items represent one of three important religions:  Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam.

The first item is "a framed picture of Ganesha" who is riding on a rat.  Representative of Hinduism, this divine elephant-type deity corresponds to many positive attributes such as good luck and wisdom.

The second item is "a plain wooden Cross" obviously representative of the Cross of Jesus Christ, the Messiah in Christianity.  It symbolizes Jesus dying on the Cross to atone for the world's sins.

The third item, also representative of Christianity (and specifically Catholicism), is a tiny picture "of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe."  Mary, the Mother of God, is regarded as a valued figure in Catholicism, specifically.  This particular representation, the one from Guadalupe, is very devoutly venerated especially by the Hispanic culture. (There is also another Virgin Mary, this time a statue of her, located in the dining area.)

The fourth item, this time representative of the Islamic religion, is another photo "of the black-robed Kaaba."  Of course, this most holy of all of the Muslim shrines, square in shape, with all of its many throngs of worshippers around it needs no introduction.

The fifth item, again representative of Hinduism, is a statue of Shiva in the form of Nataraja.  This is a very controlling deity who can stop time with a stamp of his foot and is currently shown standing on a demon "of ignorance."

The sixth item is a small shrine dedicated to many other religious figures:  Ganesha, Krishna, Lakshmi, Shakti as Parvati, Shiva yon linga.  There are also other items in the shrine recognized as "articles of devotion":  water, spoons, powders, incense, rice, sugar, etc.

The three religions, Hinduism and Christianity and Islam, are all summed up on the last page of this chapter with the final three items in "the man's" office:  Ganesha made of brass, Christ on a Cross made of wood, and a prayer rug near a Bible bearing the word "God" in the Arabic language.  Therefore this man truly welcomes three religions as a kind of Trinity:  Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam.  This is evidenced by absolutely all of the items in his household.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial