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Life of Pi Teaching Unit

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Excerpt From This Document

This teaching unit is designed to be used in conjunction with the classroom study of Yann Martel’s Life of Pi. It has been formulated and edited by educators with experience in teaching the novel. The unit consists of a reading assignment sheet, a study guide containing vocabulary in context, chapter-by-chapter study questions, and questions for essay and discussion. 

The teacher’s copy also contains two quizzes and a final exam that cover the novel and which include an answer key. Reproducible copies of the quizzes and exam are also provided for the teacher’s convenience. 

Sample discussion question from the lesson plan for Yann Martel's Life of Pi:

Discuss the last line of the Author’s Note: “If we, citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams” (p. xii). What modern–day examples support Martel’s arguments? 

Answers will vary, but some would suggest that current Western culture is crass and cynical, consisting only of commercialism and consumerism. I think Martel is suggesting that the lack of support for the arts evident in current consumer culture deprives humans of their reason for living—people need to dream and imagine, to be awed by nature and art and music, to be transported out of the routine mechanism of their lives in order to truly “live.” He is looking at the crude reality of most people’s lives and finding it a dismal place indeed. He is saying we all need “art” in our lives to survive and flourish.

Examples of “worthless dreams” include thinking money will buy happiness, the worship of material goods over spiritual intangibles, the blatant sexuality pervasive in the marketplace, the inability of people to imagine a better future because of ennui or apathy.

About this Document

Features a chapter-by-chapter study guide with vocabulary in context, study questions, and questions for essay and discussion. Also features two complete quizzes and a final exam, in reproducible form for students plus a teacher's copy with answer key.