In Life of Pi, describe how and why Piscine Molitor Patel becomes Pi.

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Pi Patel, the narrator and main character in Life of Pi, received the name Piscine Molitor from his father, who named him after a swimming pool in Paris, France. Unfortunately, since the name was not a common name in southern India where he lived, his teachers in elementary school...

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Pi Patel, the narrator and main character in Life of Pi, received the name Piscine Molitor from his father, who named him after a swimming pool in Paris, France. Unfortunately, since the name was not a common name in southern India where he lived, his teachers in elementary school tended to mispronounce it so that it sounded as if they were calling him "Pissing." Of course, it didn't take long for his fellow students to begin teasing him, so each year he found that, after being introduced to his new classmates, he quickly acquired the odious moniker of Pissing.

When Pi became old enough to move on to a new school, Petit Seminaire, he was determined to, quite literally, make a name for himself. When his teacher called roll on the first day of class, rather than responding to his name of Piscine, he walked to the front of the room and wrote Pi Patel on the board. Under it he wrote "3.14" and under that he drew a circle with a diameter dividing it in half, announcing that his name was Pi. The first teacher accepted his action and told him to sit down, addressing him as Pi.

Pi "repeated the stunt with every teacher" the rest of the day. Not only did he change his name that day, but he started a trend. Soon other boys became "Greeks" by adopting nicknames that were Greek letters. Pi knew he had successfully renamed himself when his older brother Ravi, "that local god," accepted the name and even gave him a grudging compliment for ditching the embarrassing "Pissing."

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The answer to this question can be found in Chapter Five of this story. Pi relates how his unfortunate choice of first name, Piscine, sounded so similar to the word "pissing," that in his primary school he was mercilessly made fun of constantly. Often the teachers would join in this mockery of Pi as well, without realising that they were pronouncing his name in a slightly different way, much to the amusement of Pi's classmates.

As a result, when Pi leaves his first school and goes to Petit Seminaire, the private English-medium secondary school in his area, he has the chance to free himself from this legacy of mockery and bullying. He resolves to change his name and his identity, and when he is asked for his name goes to the front and writes his name on the board, before adding that he is known to all as "Pi Patel." He then works very hard on the first day to make sure that all of his teachers learn his new name and associate it with him, as "training humans is just as important as training animals."

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