What are the significant events in each part of Life of Pi?

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Arguably, the most significant event in Life of Pi is the main source of the story's conflict: the ship sinking and stranding Pi on the raft with the tiger Richard Parker. Other important events include Richard Parker abandoning Pi upon arrival to shore and Pi's telling of the second-version of events, in which his companions on the raft were not animals, but other people. 

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Let us look at the “significant events” of Life of Pi in terms of its plot elements.

The exposition introduces the characters and the setting.  It is most often found at the beginning.  Therefore, the exposition of Life of Pi can be found in Part I.  In fact, this novel has a super long exposition.  We learn about Pi in India.  We learn about Pi’s name, Pi’s family, Pi’s zoo, Pi’s thoughts on religion, and Pi’s thoughts about the containment of animals.  Perhaps the line that best exemplifies the exposition (and, therefore, Pi’s character) in Life of Pi is the line, “No small talk.”

When one speaks of the plot, the conflict of the story is the event that begins the character’s struggle in the novel.  In regards to Life of Pi, the conflict is incredibly clear.  In Part II, the line that presents the conflict is as follows:

The ship sank.

This is the very first line in Part II.  This is where the conflict begins the rising action of the novel.  Suddenly Pi’s “easy” life in India where his family owns a zoo is gone forever.  Suddenly, Pi’s focus switches from normal life to a life bent on one thing:  survival.

After the conflict, the rising action comprises the next part of the novel.  Part II of Life of Pi is all about rising action.  Only the first line of Part II contains the conflict.  This is the part of the plot where the happenings become more and more intense.  The rising action ceases only when the intensity reaches its height.  In Life of Pi, Pi’s life on the raft and his subsequent life with Richard Parker, the tiger are the events that make up the rising action of the story.  The reader is kept in suspense in many ways, but the most important question that will continually pop up in the reader’s mind is as follows:  Will Pi survive?

The very end of Part II is what contains the climax of Life of Pi which is not necessarily Pi’s landing in Mexico (ensuring his survival), but his burst of emotion as his shipmate, Richard Parker, disappears unceremoniously into the jungle, without even looking back. 

Then, Richard Parker, companion of my torment, awful, fierce thing that kept me alive, moved forward and disappeared forever from my life.

In my opinion, this is the height of the action.  Without Richard Parker, Pi would not have survived.  Now Pi MUST survive without his life-long shipmate companion.  His life changes here.  Depression becomes involved.  This leads us to the next element of plot.

The falling action begins with the first line of Part III in Life of Pi. This part contains Pi recuperation, his visit from the Japanese men of the Maritime Department, his creation of the “second story,” and the reversion into the frame story.

The resolution in a novel involved when the original problem is solved and/or the goal has been accomplished. The ultimate resolution of the plot occurs at the very end of the book, specifically in Chapter 99 at the end of Part III.  Pi has told his story, has told his second (less interesting story to the Japanese men), and he has asked which story is preferable.  The resolution of this novel is one line: “And so it goes with God.”  There is more than one answer to any problem.  The sinking of the ship, the original conflict, happened for a reason.  Many, many people coming to this conclusion (the resolution) was the point of it all.

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Martel divides the novel Life of Pi into three parts. What are the significant events in each part?

When you are speaking of the "events" in a novel, you are referring to plot elements:  exposition, conflict, rising, climax, falling action, resolution.  Let's take a look at each in turn.

The exposition of the story introduces the characters and the setting.  This is in Part I of the novel.  Readers learn about Pi growing up and his dad's zoo and his experiences with religion and his early journey on the Pacific Ocean.  Even during the exposition, the theme seems to be "No small talk." 

The element of plot that really starts the story going is the conflict.  In this novel, the conflict is the very first line of Part II:  "The ship sank."  Here Pi's struggle begins.  It is a struggle to survive.

Pi's entire struggle for survival on the life boat with Richard Parker is the rising action.  This is entirely in Part II of the novel.  There are many "events" during the rising action.  A few that should stand out in a reader's mind are the disappearance of the first group of animals on the boat, the appearance of the flying fish, the appearance of the other castaway, the journey to the carnivorous island, and various storms and other hardships.

The very last part of Part II contains the climax of the novel:  Richard Parker disappears unceremoniously.

Then, Richard Parker, companion of my torment, awful, fierce thing that kept me alive, moved forward and disappeared forever from my life.

The falling action begins with the first part of Part III.  Pi recuperates from his injuries, he meets with the Japanese men, and tells them his "other" story.

The resolution involves the solving of the original problem. Readers learn that the important thing, and the "real" conflict was not that the ship sank, but that there are different thoughts about religion in the world.  Pi's point becomes clear after the Japanese men choose "the one with the animals." Pi thanks them and says, "And so it goes with God."

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Martel divides the novel Life of Pi into three parts. What are the significant events in each part?

Martel's Life of Pi is divided into three parts because each one represents a different episode in the boy's life. Within the first two, there are times when Pi shows curiosity in learning about the physical world and the spiritual world. He learns; he grows; and he becomes an expert about what he discovers.

The first part describes his life as a boy with his parents at the Zoo at Pondicherry. It also shows his keen sense of learning and obtaining knowledge in school, from the zoo, and about different religions. The second part, which is the biggest, of course, is his experience on the life boat--or is it? Here he demonstrates his wide knowledge about animals and their behavior, as well as what he learns in order to survive the Pacific Ocean. The things he learned in the first part of the book help him to survive the second part of the book. He applies all of the knowledge about animals, God, and himself to keep him alive for seven months!

The third part demonstrates the final stage of this bildungsroman. When Pi is reintroduced into society, he chooses how to view his experience on the ocean. He experiences so many horrifying situations because of the shipwreck that he not only has to survive physically, but he must now survive spiritually and mentally after such a traumatic experience. Without all three parts of the book, there wouldn't be a complete understanding of the significance of Pi's struggle on the ocean. For example, we wouldn't really understand where Pi's knowledge of animals or of God came from if we didn't have the first part to supplement the second part. More particularly, the third part of the book wouldn't be as shocking or as deeply penatrable if it weren't for the preceding two parts that build up to the amazing ending.

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