Life of Pi Questions and Answers
by Yann Martel

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What is the significance of swimming in Life of Pi?

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In the novel The Life of Pi, Pi is very close to his uncle, Mamaji, who is in reality just a close family friend but acts as an uncle and teacher to Pi. Mamaji is a champion swimmer and has swam in pools all over the world. In particular, he loves a particular French pool called the Piscine Molitar, from which Pi gets his name. Pi goes to the local pool with Mamaji frequently and learns how to swim. In doing so, he becomes a fairly skilled and strong swimmer, which will be very helpful to him later on.

When the ship he is on is wrecked and sinks, swimming saves Pi’s life. He makes it successfully to the life raft because of his strong swimming ability and is able to start figuring out how to survive the catastrophe. Living at sea, he has to swim many times to save his life and find food, so swimming quickly becomes a vital part of his existence.

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Since Pi’s name in the story is derived from a famous swimming pool in which his champion swimmer uncle practiced, it makes sense that...

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