Does Pi's brother die?

Pi's brother, Ravi, dies in the shipwreck.

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Ravi Patel, Pi's older brother, is a minor character in Life of Pi, who has little in common with the protagonist. He dies in the shipwreck of the Tsimtsum, along with his mother and father. Pi, therefore, loses his entire family at once.

Pi and Ravi are not particularly close, and Ravi ridicules Pi's adherence to multiple religions. Pi also has to endure a common experience of younger siblings, that of going through school in the shadow of a popular and charismatic older brother, with whom he is continually compared. However, after Ravi's death, Pi reflects on what he has lost:

To lose a brother is to lose someone with whom you can share the experience of growing old, who is supposed to bring you a sister-in-law and nieces and nephews, creatures to people the tree of your life and give it new branches.

Although this is a moving idea, none of it is specific to Ravi. It is a general comment on the role one might expect any brother to fulfil. From this it appears that Pi is more interested in the idea of brotherhood than in the specific figure of Ravi, his own brother.

This is consistent with Pi's religious vision. When talking about his initial attraction to Islam, he says that it is a religion of brotherhood. He also makes the remark, when discussing Mr. Kumar, that atheists are his brothers and sisters, despite his religious commitments. His own brother, by contrast, does not always act in a particularly brotherly fashion.

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