Life of Pi Summary and Analysis: Part One—Toronto and Pondicherry—Chapters 33-36

Yann Martel

Summary and Analysis: Part One—Toronto and Pondicherry—Chapters 33-36

Chapter 33:
Pi shows the author photos from his past. The author notes that Pi is smiling in the photos taken since his rescue but that his eyes tell a different story. There are only four photos from India which Mamaji sent to Pi. None are of his family, and Pi can hardly remember what his mother looks like.

The fact that a picture of Richard Parker is part of Pi's family memorabilia symbolizes the role animals play in Pi's identity.

Chapters 34-35:
These chapters describe the efforts the Patel family went through as they tried to leave India. Chapter 34 is a comic review of the main bureaucratic and economic obstacles; in chapter 35, the Patels, especially Mrs. Patel, say their emotional farewells to their country.

The contrast between Americans and Indians in chapter 34 shows how fully Pi will be out of place in his new land (and how much he already knows it). In chapter 35, the description of Pi's mother and India blend: he is leaving his motherland behind.

"Things didn't turn out the way they were supposed to, but what can you do? You must take life the way it comes at you and make the best of it." (Chapter 35)

Pi thinks this looking back at the family's departure from India. It is a lightly philosophical statement that covers a world of pain.

Chapter 36:
The author meets the rest of Pi's family: his son, daughter, cat, and dog.

The author compares Pi's house to India in its ability to hide souls, a suggestion he has made a new motherland of his own here. The fact that Pi's family includes animals further underscores that he leads a zoomorphic life: animals are people to him, and vice versa.