Discussion Questions for The Life of Pi
- What does this movie leave you thinking about? What images from the film linger most vividly in your mind?
- Pi presents himself as a Hindu/Christian/ Muslim. Despite the criticism he receives from his family for his “conversions” Pi himself is obviously delighted with all his religions and sees no problem in holding to all of them at the same time. What reasons does he offer in the film for doing so? He grew up Hindu; what attracts him to Christianity and to Islam?
- Is it possible to be a Hindu/Christian/Muslim? If in your opinion it is impossible, what makes it so, other than the displeasure of people who practice only one of them?
- One of the first conflicts in the film is between Pi and his father over Richard Parker. His father insists that the tiger is a wild animal who will kill him without remorse. But Pi insists that when he looked into the tiger’s eyes, he saw ‘ his soul.” What, in your opinion, did Pi see? Is his response more than just a classic case of anthropomorphism?
- There are clear parallels in the two stories Pi tells between animals and people. The zebra corresponds to the injured sailor, the hyena to the cook, the orangutan to his mother and Richard Parker to Pi himself. Discuss the significance of these ties, especially the tie between Pi and Richard Parker.
- Which of Pi’s stories do you prefer and why?
- If a friend of yours were to ask you, “Who is God?” how might you answer? How might you answer his/her follow up question, “How do you know?” What are the concerns, theological and personal, that shape your answers?
- In my review I state that fantasy tales can sometimes spark “divine curiosity.” Have you ever found this to be true in your experience? If so, which stories were helpful in striking the spark?
- If you were privileged enough to watch the film with Yann Martell, author of the novel on which the film is based, what questions would you have for him?