Expain why the author chose an orang-utan to represent Pi's mother on the boat?
The orang-utan is the mother-figure on the boat because she acted as the protector to the defenseless. When the hyena brutally mamed and killed the zebra early on, it was Orange Juice who reacted. Although Pi was angry at the hyena for his cruelty, he does not react out of fear for his own safety. Orange Juice, despite fear and seasickness, confronts the hyena because her natural inclination is to protect. Pi even states that his memories of her at the zoo where as a mother to her two babies. Unfortunately her bravery caused her demise. Pi\'s alternative version of the story supports the same theory.
The orangutan is used to represent Pi's mother, Mrs. Gita Patel, because she is the mother-like figure of the animal story. Orange Juice, the orangutan, protects Pi and the honor ( I'd like to think ) of the zebra from the savagery of the hyena. Pi mentions that the orangutan is also a mother to two sons, much like Pi's own mother.