In Yann Martel's novel Life of Pi, what does Pi's name symbolize? I am already aware of the mathematical 3.14 and the relation between the number of decimal places being to hard to understand, but what...

In Yann Martel's novel Life of Pi, what does Pi's name symbolize?

I am already aware of the mathematical 3.14 and the relation between the number of decimal places being to hard to understand, but what else does his name symbolize?

Expert Answers info

Laurine Herzog eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2019

write1,195 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Science

There are a number of possible meanings to the protagonist's name in The Life of Pi. The most obvious is the mathematical reference to pi, the name given to the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. Expressed as a decimal number, pi is infinite, with the digits after the decimal point also never repeating any patterns. Expressed as a fraction, pi is approximately 22/7; however, because pi can only be expressed approximately as a fraction, it is also—in mathematical terms—an irrational, or transcendental number.

The Life of Pi is the story of Pi's search for meaning, and one of the lessons he learns is that life has no fixed meaning or dependable, guaranteed patterns. There is no end point to the meaning or the story of life. In these ways, what Pi learns about life is broadly similar to the known characteristics of the mathematical pi. Neither life nor pi have a fixed ending, and neither have dependable patterns. Life also, like pi, is irrational and transcendental, meaning...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 585 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

qejtzuk eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2012

write15 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial