Talk:Life of Pi

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I have removed references to a plagiarism lawsuit from the article, as it appears this was a false rumor that never had any merit. I found multiple references to the rumor, but no actual statements that a lawsuit was ever started. Perhaps with a bit of time, the falseness of this rumor and lack of merit of the charges has become clear. --ssd 22:40, 23 July 2005 (UTC)

The Problem with "Plagiarism Controversy" (April 18, 2005)

I was taken aback by this entry, which comments on the Plagiarism Controversy without simultaneously mentioning problem WITH this controversy and the key dilemma authors face with the stretch taken with "COPYRIGHT" these days. (BTW -- nothing was DELETED from it???)

First of all, if Scliar is making such a claim, it is a reminder, as LIBRARY JOURNAL NOTES in the article "Too Sensitized to Plagiarism?" (by: Francine Fialkoff, Dec. 15, 2002), "that you can never be too careful either in making accusations or verifying charges of plagiarism" (1).

Fialkoff notes in her article the main problem: the books were never "compared" -- an activity that should have been done by the New York Times before publishing any charge of plagiarism. She plainly states: "Had someone at the TIMES gone to the 'local' library to compare the two novles, any thoughts of plagiarism would have been dismissed".

The question of whether an "idea" in a story can be considered "intellectual property", i.e., a person who is stranded on a boat with a cat, consider the story of NOAH'S ARK. Perhaps Scliar's publisher should track down the grave of the divinely inspired, as one can be sure that Noah had some cats on his ARK. A note to the wise. Find more than ONE source when doing research. (Perhaps this is just a scholar's frustration with the lack of "facts" being represented, so please understand this statement in that light).

(This NOTE is dedicated to students who are reading this novel for English class and shall continue to remain very CONFUSED about this controversy until they read this discussion entry and/or try to do some of their own research and investigation, esp. with regard to this controversy and Martel's novel. My hope is that they will not take this controversy point seriously as something that can influence their opinion of the story. There is another side to this controversy that was not addressed and should be at a future time.


Deletion of part of the article is dishonest and unfair. The article is quite neutral and is only informing a fact, without taking parties w[h]ether the Life of Pi is a plagiarism or not. It is necessary to inform the happening to this work and so the Plagiari[s]ms Controversy is an indeleable fact.

I have mixed feelings on your point. But who deleted any article? What is this comment all about? I read this article 2 weeks ago, and nothing has been deleted. What does this discussion comment mean? How can it be even made when this is a "free encyclopedia" and information is not intended (as the disclaimer states) to always be filtered in a scholarly way. How can such a point be made when there is no control over the information added or deleted: that reality makes this tool useful and also very questionable at the same time. Useful because people can share ideas. Dangerous because ideas/comments are not always TRUE. That is why this discussion page is useful -and why the first comment is an important START to a very important discussion- it is for the very purpose of discussing articles themselves.

If information can be easily deleted, and editing is encouraged by the encyclopedia guidelines -- how is such information to be protected? It can't. Isn't that the point? (Ironically we are talking about plagiarism here!!). Essentially, in a perfect world, no one would touch this encyclopedia without the best of intentions; yet the disclaimer ENCOURAGES the addition of information from ANYONE; which is also an "indeleable fact". Isn't that more dishonest and irresponsible?

(For the record, the above comment on the article was created because the lack of information initially created confusion among many readers of this novel. To discount it just to say that the "plagiarism controversy is an "indeleable fact" is itself "unfair" to the spirit of the discussion thread.)

To be more precise, the article states some "fact", but does not attempt to state the TRUTH about whether or not the novel was plagiarised. Martel's novel is set in INDIA and was created there and in Canada -- a hybrid birth.

Martel states that he read and did research on Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and visited a lot of zoos in India while he gathered ideas for the novel. A lot of hard work went into this novel, Martel states in an article in The Globe and Mail. While Dr. Scliar's book, Max and the Cats had to do with a shipreck and a survivor who gets stuck in a boat with a cat, it is too gratuituous to say that this article is stating 'fact'. It states, "Plagiarism Controversy" so boldly in the title and yet it does not state the particulars beyond plot summarizing Scliar's novel: "a story of a German refugeee who has to share his boat with a jaguar at his Atlantic crossing."

In that light, can one not argue that it is also unfair and injust to state something about the plagiarism controversy without showing both sides of the story? Does this encyclopedia entry attempt to talk at length about the novel and Scliar's in the effort to verify the Plagiarism Controversy? Does it state the entirety of the facts which outline the plagiarism controversy?

It is unfair and injust that it was posted in the first place without any follow-up or any adequate research or "links" to other opinions. Now THAT is irresponsible. In any case, the article has created confusion instead of clarifying the truth.

Isn't the role of this kind of site to clarify what the controversy is when it is defined and addressed? (Who's deleting anything? One need not delete what has already been omitted: the entire story).

(If such information is not screened by the right scholars and teachers of this material, then doesn't any-thing go? In a perfect world, no one would alter this text. Most don't care to alter it. Still, to make a judgement about that something HAS been altered without even knowing if it WAS altered in the first place is very telling. This is key to the issue being discussed: did Martel take Schliar's book and "alter" it, change it into his own story, and market it as his own? What exactly IS literary plagiarism? This aspect of the article doesn't seem to take any time to consider this question or to address the severity of this claim. It also fails to comment on how the media so quickly jumped on this controversy without doing the proper research.

I agree, one should read the DISCLAIMER for WIKIPEDIA before making any judgements on the nature of this kind of forum. The very "editing" capacity of this encyclopedia is essentially problematic and dissuades readers from seeking information from other, more reliable and informed sources.

While your point (which should also be spell checked -- I took the liberty of doing so -- another problem with this site) is true, it is focused on the smaller picture. Even this comment can be deleted one day!

Please sign your posts - use a fake name, or use the 4 tilde shortcut. You can go back and sign old posts also. Stbalbach 05:58, 27 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The New York Times did review the book in question, "Max and the Cats". It was reviewed by HERBERT MITGANG in July, 1990. Here's the link from the times website. Stevendaniels88 02:30, 24 July 2007 (UTC)


why was the image of the boat taken off? it was very helpful to trying to understand the book! could it be brought back? (talk) 01:58, 24 December 2007 (UTC)nobody 12/23/07

Unfortunately it was deleted because of this discussion. I do not endorse that discussion at all, but that's why it's gone. --JayHenry (talk) 02:17, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

Link Removal[edit]

Why was the external link removed? What does non-encycopedic mean? No reviews are written as if for an encyclopedia. This review gave sales information, a history of the pre-publication, an interview with the author, and a review of the book. Was this removed simply because Stbalbach disagreed with the critic's opinion? It was a legitimate review, from a quite popular UK blog, so I have re-added it. Iago Dali 00:19, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Generally blog posts are frowned on at Wikipedia because anyone can write a blog post. If the review was by a well known author, or the review is well know, or published, then it would be arguably encyclopedic. But just some person that no one has ever heard of on the Internet doesnt warrant a Wikipedia external link. There are other forums for that kind of thing. Stbalbach 01:22, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

That's outright Elitist nonsense! This post is far more well written and informative than your typical review in the NY Times. There are plenty of blog and online links throughout Wikipedia. Now, if you are stating that you thought this fellow had some non-literary reason for writing, or it was a mere ad for the book, that's legitimate, but because this guy doesn't cash a NY Times paycheck. Wiki is supposed to be demotic! Is the piece poorly written? No. As for the man- his blog is a well-known literary blog in the UK- is this anti-Brit bias? I've looked for reviews, and save for Amazon there are precious few. I am re-adding this. I think you need a better reason than Elitist snobbery. Iago Dali 12:18, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Removing link. See rule on Original Research. Also see rule on civil conduct and name calling. Stbalbach 13:07, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
While the name calling should be avoided, I agree with Iago Dali that the link should remain. Articles on literature should link to both positive and negative reviews to give the full range of analysis and thought on a said literature. To this end, I have added several additional reviews. I also disagree on not linking to blogs. There is no Wiki rule against doing this and it is done plenty of times on this site. In addition, Grumpy Old Bookman is a well-known literary blog who has excellent insight into literary issues. --Alabamaboy 13:42, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for agreement! Stbalbach, I've looked at original research and it simply does not apply in this case- lest all 'original' opinions in a review would be invalidated. Criticism should be original- lest it be considered PLAGIARISM (see above). That point applies more to scientific areas. I'm sorry if calling your opinion Elitist offended you, but your seeming bias against the Internet offended me, so let's leave it at that. And, as the other poster states, the rule you cite against the Internet simply does not exist. Iago Dali 13:52, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a link aggregator, there has to be a measure of what is allowed otherwise anyone who happens to write a review and post it on the Internet can link to it and many will abuse this process in order to increase their blog google ranking. A google search of "Life of Pi review"s found 88,000 hits. Some large fraction of those are random peoples reviews. Which should we include on Wikipedia? There are other forums that aggregate book reviews. The reviews on Wikipedia need to have some significance. There are rules about what should or should not be included in the external links section. Its fine to link to blogs if there is a significant reason to do so. Stbalbach 14:34, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Of course Wikipedia isn't a link aggregator. However, most literary articles can benefit from having links to a sampling of reviews, especially if the reviews showcase the full spectrum of thought on a book or literary subject. If there were twenty reviews listed in this article's external links section, I would object. But a few is a good thing. That said, this article should be expanded. Life of Pi is one of my favorite books and I'll put this on my list of articles to expand when I get the time.--Alabamaboy 14:51, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
Great! I hope your able to do this article justice. Ive also read the book, and have been a contributor to the article. Stbalbach 15:10, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

I have looked at the original research provisions and that would apply to in text info, not links. But it is not applicable here. Under Neo Nazism there are assorted links to articles and URLs detailing their philosophy, but they are not accorded in text mentions. Are you saying this review is more noxious than a Neo-Nazi site? If so, I would question your objectivity. Also, your need for "significance" is a bit disturbing. Would an Atlantic Monthly review, even if it's just pap designed to sell the book, be more worthy than an online piece, well-written. I agree that this piece in question goes beyond your typical review, so even by your definition, it certainly is significant for its textual value alone. I've read, for instance, many online movie reviews that put a Roger Ebert or Ken Turan, of the LA Times, to shame, in depth and style. Are you saying that fame or name brand is a quality preferable to content and cogency? I could see trimming a links section with 200 links, but the first one, and for reasons that other users say are invalid? The links should stay, and any other relevant links. If all the review said was, "This rocks" or "This blows" you would have a point, but I disagree with the very notion that you or anyone else is the sole arbiter of significance. I'm not a fan of political blogs, and there is much bad writing on them, as well as extremism of the Neo-Nazi sort. But, they are a significant development, whether I like them or not, and the blog mentioned seems to be one of the more significant in literature. I vote the links remain, and use Stbalbach's very definition in the case for them. Red Darwin 14:58, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Well, not that Ill do this, but for a mind experiment, what if I pasted 100 reviews into the article. That would be a problem because Wikipedia is not a link aggregator. Then I ask you to sort it out and remove all but the most significant. How would you decide? That is the problem over time as future editors add their reviews. Links need to be justified as having significance. This is in the Wikipedia rules on external links BTW. If you want to see what happens when things get out of hand, see the external links section of Holocaust. Stbalbach 15:10, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
I include the external links page:

What to link to In Wikipedia, it is possible to link to external websites. Such links are referred to as "external links". Many articles have a small section containing a few external links. There are a few things which should be considered when adding an external link.

  1. Is it accessible?
  2. Is it proper? (useful, tasteful, etc?)
  3. Is it entered correctly?

In general, external links should be accessible by the widest audience possible. That is, try to avoid sites requiring payment, registration, or extra applications (Flash, Java, etc.) to see the relevant content, at least if there is a simpler site available. If the best/only site does have such requirements, it is best to include a note to that effect. For people with a slow connection, also mention the size if that is large. Examples: "(requires Java)", "(1 MB PDF file)", "(requires registration)". The same applies to any sites with ads that spawn new windows.

What should be linked to

  1. Official sites should be added to the page of any organization, person, or other entity that has an official site.
  2. Sites that have been cited or used as references in the creation of a text. Intellectual honesty requires that any site actually used as a reference be cited. To fail to do so is plagiarism.
  3. If a book or other text that is the subject of an article exists somewhere on the Internet it should be linked to.
  4. On articles with multiple Points of View, a link to sites dedicated to each, with a detailed explanation of each link. The number of links dedicated to one POV should not overwhelm the number dedicated to any other. One should attempt to add comments to these links informing the reader of what their POV is.
  5. High content pages that contain neutral and accurate material not already in the article. Ideally this content should be integrated into the Wikipedia article at which point the link would remain as a reference.

Maybe OK to add

  1. For albums, movies, books: one or two links to professional reviews which express some sort of general sentiment. For films, Movie Review Query Engine, Internet Movie DataBase, Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic offer especially large collections of reviews. To access the list of other collections of movie reviews available online, please use this link.
  2. Web directories: When deemed appropriate by those contributing to an article on Wikipedia, a link to one web directory listing can be added, with preference to open directories (if two are comparable and only one is open). If deemed unnecessary, or if no good directory listing exists, one should not be included.
  3. Fan sites: On articles about topics with many fansites, including a link to one major fansite is appropriate, marking the link as such. In extreme cases, a link to a web directory of fansites can replace this link.

What should not be linked to

  1. Wikipedia disapproves strongly of links that are added for advertising purposes. Adding links to one's own page is strongly discouraged. The mass adding of links to any website is also strongly discouraged, and any such operation should be raised at the Village Pump or other such page and approved by the community before going ahead. Persistently linking to one's own site is considered Vandalism and can result in sanctions. See also External link spamming.
  2. Links to a site that is selling products, unless it applies via a "do" above.

What can be done with a dead external link External links to dead URLs are of no use to Wikipedia articles. Such dead links should either be removed or updated with archived versions, which may be found at the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

Note that some dead links are caused by vandalism (for example, a vandal disabling links to products competing with vandal's favorite product). It may therefore be worth checking to see if there is a working link in earlier versions of article. Some vandalism of this type is quite subtle, e.g., replacing ASCII letters in the URL with identical-looking Cyrillic letters.

Point 3 on what should be linked to, and those in what should not be linked to support the inclusion. Point 1 in Maybe Ok also supports the link. The blog entry clearly is well written. I see nothing except a nebulous idea of "significance" that mediates against its inclusion. Again, with so many pages in severe need of trimming, in links and other means, which go well beyond the 32k prefernce it seems silly to argue over a solid review whose only flaw is that another user deems it insignificant, with no real clarification. Again, your links example makes the very point you wish it did not.  ;-) Red Darwin 15:12, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Point 4 in Links to also allows MPOVs- which a review willnaturally be--pro or con. Your point re: excess links I agree with, but 1 or 3 hardly qualifies. It might be resonable to allow one pro, one con, and one middle view, but what of some brilliant review that has all three? Yes, it should not get out of hand, but smothering them in the crib is not palatable either. Red Darwin 15:19, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Forensic evidence from the boat[edit]

There were bones of small animals found in the boat — is that all the forensics investigation got? Come on! I may be watching CSI too much, but I bet one can find tiger hairs, animal saliva, claw marks, and human blood in the lifeboat to prove which story really happened. And, in the very unlikely case that there is no other evidence in the boat, Occam's Razor tells us which is likely true: The story without animals. -- Perfecto 08:13, 26 December 2005 (UTC)

That's the whole point of the story: do you believe the version that perhaps seems more logical, or the version that the boy told, ("and so it goes with God"). Occam's Razor tells us God doesn't exist, either. --Pyg 18:17, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Citation of Occam's razor is indeed very topical! Strictly speaking, Perfecto is correct: Occam does tell us which version is more likely. But this misses the point. You abuse Occam if you take his authority for disregarding the unlikely. Unlikely events happen all the time. A priori rejecting of the unlikely gives rise to many serious errors. In this case we'd also miss out on the more instructive (and entertaining!) account.

--Philopedia 22:50, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

When published?[edit]

When was Life of Pi first published? It only gives the date for when it won the award. -- Stbalbach 01:29, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

The novel was first published in September 2001, the Knopf Canada edition being the "true first". Victoriagirl 15:49, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

Thank you for clarifying that. -- Stbalbach 17:14, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

Misleading edit[edit]

Stbalbach wrote:

"this is accurate and clear - pleae explain yourself on the talk page to avoid an edit war"

I am happy to do so.

Here is the text before Stbalbach's edit:

"Captain Dudley and three sailors were stranded in a skiff in the Pacific after the sinking of their yacht Mignonette on the way to Australia. They are forced to eat one of the party to survive, and feast on his body for 35 days – a sailor boy named Richard Parker! Yet another Richard Parker died when his ship, named the Francis Spaight, sank in January 1846. Ten years earlier, in December 1835, an earlier Francis Spaight was wrecked in the north Atlantic: some of the survivors of that wreck too were involved in cannibalism."

And after Stbalbach's edit:

"Captain Dudley and three sailors were stranded in a skiff in the Pacific after the sinking of their yacht Mignonette on the way to Australia. They are forced to eat one of the party to survive, and feast on his body for 35 days – a sailor boy named Richard Parker! Yet another Richard Parker died when his ship, named the Francis Spaight, sank in January 1846. Although this Richard Parker was not eaten, some of the survivors of that wreck too were involved in cannibalism."

This is clear, but hardly accurate. Stbalbach's version clearly states that some of the survivors of the wreck of the Francis Spaight which sank in January 1846 were involved in cannibalism. That's a very serious accusation, and completely without foundation.

Reverting. Again. :) --TheMadBaron 16:33, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

Please read the cited source, it says: he died when the Francis Speight - on board which a number of seamen had been eaten - foundered in 1846. -- Stbalbach 18:00, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
Indeed it does. It says:
"(or did he die? Can't remember).
[Ed. Yes, another one bites the dust: he died when the Francis Speight - on board which a number of seamen had been eaten - foundered in 1846."
I would say that that was pretty shoddy editorial work, since it was clearly another, earlier Francis Spaight wreck which led to the cannibalism. The editor even spells the name wrong. That sort of work may have a home on, but it has no place in an encyclopedia.
This does, though....
"The Limerick shipowner Francis Spaight named at least two ships after himself. The London Times of June 22, 1836 reported the wreck of the first of these ships, which had taken place on December 3, 1835. A boy named Patrick O'Brien, the ship's cook John Gorman and another boy named George Burns were in turn killed and eaten by their fellow survivors before they were rescued by a passing American ship, the Agenoria. This incident was retold by Jack London as a short story, entitled The "Francis Spaight" (A True Tale Retold), written in 1908. Many years earlier, it may well have inspired Poe's novel, published a couple of years after the wreck.
Spaight soon sold the second boat named after himself, built in 1836. It was under different ownership when it was wrecked in Table Bay near Capetown on January 7, 1846. Fifteen of the crew and eight rescuers lost their lives. There could not have been any cannibalism associated with this shipwreck, for the ship ran aground rather than drifting in the open seas. By coincidence, there was an apprentice called Richard Parker among the victims of the 1846 Francis Spaight sinking."
Please see The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket.

--TheMadBaron 19:03, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

I stand corrected, the source I was basing this on is inaccurate. Adding an additional cite and info to clarify for the reader. -- Stbalbach 21:21, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
Oi! You can't just give in like that! I came here for an argument! --TheMadBaron 00:07, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
I came here for an argument! .. That sums up Wikipedia pretty well. -- Stbalbach 00:35, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

The Symbolism Section[edit]

I think something needs to be done about the Symbolism section. Not only is it poorly written and entirely arbitrary and biased conjecture from whoever wrote it, but it is also misleading because there is entirely different symbolism acknowledged within the actual book. The section does not even address that symbolism, which is an actual part of the plot, and I think the Symbolism section would be far better off if it were deleted or changed to address the symbolism that is actually relevant to the plot and confirmed within the book.

How about add something about 227 days. (22/7 ≈ π) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:46, 22 August 2009 (UTC)

Pervan 05:25, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

22/7 is a very rough approximation of pi, formerly used in schools where calculations were done with pen and paper. There is nothing "magical" about 22/7. (22/7 ~ 3.1429' pi ~ 3.1416) The suggestion that 227 symbolizes pi is far-fetched. 77Mike77 (talk) 22:52, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

I didn't write it, but I actually learned a lot from the symbolism section of this article. Literary criticism is soft analysis, I would be surprised to learn there is only one valid viewpoint to any piece of literature. I could see a complaint being made about no citation (ie. who said it), but there is nothing factually false about the analysis that would require its deletion, only a disagreement in interpretation. As for missing material, if there is something missing, can you add it, so we have multiple points of view represented? Please don't think this article only presents a single point of view, or that multiple points of view can't contradict each other. You can add other analysis, even if it contradicts what is there.-- Stbalbach 23:15, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
I tagged it as unreferenced, because I think that's the basic problem. It's okay to give some literary interpretations of the book, but not the interpretations of the person that wrote the section. That's akin to original research. It should decribe notable literary analyses published elsewhere, and describe them as their respective author's views rather than absolute truth. What's more, it should stick to views that are agreed on by several people. If nobody feels like doing this kind of rewrite in the near future, I think the section should be removed until somebody does. risk 16:22, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
No problem my only request is, to keep the article from looking like the newspaper coupon page, use {fact} templates instead of the banners. NPOV is pretty serious, I'm not sure there is a problem with that, this is literary interpretation it will always be POV, it doesn't cite its sources your right. Lets see what happens. -- Stbalbach 00:06, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

I with to express my support for Pervan's remark, (or my understanding of it). The various analyses of the story, e.g. as to the significance of the animals and other story elements, while mildly interesting, belong to the category of individual speculation (analogous to original research) unsupported (as far as I can tell) by any statement from the author.

Is there any reason why this material shouldn't be deleted, it being antithetical to Wikipedia (and general encyclapedial) content guidelines?

--Philopedia 23:00, 8 August 2007 (UTC)


Regarding this recently deleted symbolism section (which is IMO excellent material), it is preserved here in case someone can provide a cite to restore it to the article:

Plot Problem[edit]

The Plot section isn't in order. Most of it is fairly well-written. But, after it states that they lifeboat finally reaches dry land, Mexico, it then states that they went to an island. However this occured much before going to Mexico did. ("The lifeboat finally reaches dry land in Mexico, at which point Richard Parker leaves without warning. Eventually, the duo wash ashore upon a strange wooded island, populated by meerkats, and containing pools of fresh water. ")I'd like them fixed, and I don't really have the power to do so. 22:56, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
You do have the power. Just rewrite the section in the same way you have here. Thanks, Peregrine981 01:03, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Last reversion by Stbalbach[edit]

I follow this article with special interest and I would not like to see it getting spam. I also see you are a beneficial hand here. I checked the link provided by the "red" user Stavros44 and couldn't find anything it's trying to sell, but looks like a place for people to place comments and views, not that there was any serious "thesis" however. Maybe it doesn't qualify as a link, but it doesn't look like spam. I would appreciate to learn a bit more on criteria of links' inclusions. Hoverfish 17:50, 29 September 2006 (UTC)---Ok, followed links deeper, selling of essays, you are right, no doubt here, sorry for being hasty to post this. Hoverfish 17:57, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

The site GeekyGirlsEssays is a problem spammer on other articles which I have no patience for, they have been warned multiple times and keep at it using various tricks to hide their activities - this particular link is not so bad although its questionable if the content is of any value, we already have Wikiquote. Usually they post a direct link to their essay writing service (ie. students pay for written essays). Basically what they are doing now is put up some quick low-value content for the purpose of drawing links to the essay writing service. -- Stbalbach 16:02, 30 September 2006 (UTC)
Thank you, Stbalbach. Last night I spend quite some time studying the above discussions on linking and also followed links to relevant Wikipedia pages. One other thing I noticed is your hope on the symbolism entries (which are indeed very interesting) finding enough notations to be reincluded. I'm not very experienced but I can't see how one could avoid research on them. Could it be possible to create another article on Symbolism in the Life of Pi (or something similar)? Maybe under such a title such entries could survive without citing sources. Maybe not. What do you think? Hoverfish 18:44, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

Author's note[edit]

In the author's note, the author claims this is all based on a true story, with the recorded conversations at the end being real conversations. I don't see this covered anywhere in the article. Is it true or relevant? Some guy 10:41, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

What page of the book are you referring to? -- Stbalbach 13:44, 24 October 2006 (UTC) I'm talking about the author's note before the beginning. It's labeled "Author's Note" or "A Note from the Author" or something like that. It probably isn't in every version of the book. Some guy 10:19, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
Ahh.. that's a literary device known as a false document. Or, you can choose to believe it :-) -- Stbalbach 14:43, 29 October 2006 (UTC)


Why and How does he go blind from malnuritment? Is ther a wiki explenation link? how lbind can one go tmeporarly? --Procrastinating@talk2me 20:09, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

I thought it was either A) from the saltwater or B) completely made up by Pi to fit killing the cook into his allegory.

I assumed it to be due to scurvy (lack of vitamin C, which is required - among other things - for the synthesis of collagen in humans), which in the past used to be a widespread problem among seamen aboard ships, who lived on restricted diets that did not include citrus fruits. However, scurvy is not linked to blindness. A deficiency of vitamin A is, but vitamin A is abundant in fish oil, so it seems unlikely this was the cause of Pi's blindness. --Ithunn (talk) 11:14, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

---hunger strikers get terrible pains and can go blind because the protein in the eye breaks down. Look up the Irish hunger strikers on the net

Medieval style?[edit]

What does it mean when the article describes the writing style as medieval? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by GOODBYEKITTY (talkcontribs) .

Added a link to medieval allegory. Basically, it means there are allegories operating on multiple levels, of a religious (Christian) nature. -- Stbalbach 14:40, 30 November 2006 (UTC)


I am working on updating the Life of Pi wilipedia article for a school assignment. I would appreciate any feedback that would make this article better. Thanks. User: Englishproject 6:24 January 11, 2007 (PST)

Most of what you added is interesting and well reasoned, but it is largely original research. As an encyclopedia, we are supposed to report on what notable critics say about the novel. I would be interested in hearing other opinions. -- Stbalbach 14:16, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
Firstly I appreciate your input and I went over my revisions. While some editing is still needed I think that the analysis is quite textual and that a noteworthy critic could easily say the same of the novel. Though this being said I am going to search for more sources in order to verify my own analysis. Thank you again for your input and am still open to any other suggestions. User: Englishproject 3:49 January 17, 2007 (PST)

How do I post my references and "Notes" User: Englishproject 8:25 January 26, 2007 (PST)

See the example notes under the "Richard Parker" section using the <ref>Note</ref> syntax. Need any help let me know. -- Stbalbach 05:46, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Motif and Analysis section[edit]

The Motif section appears to be written by one person, and the Analysis section appears to be written by another person. Yet they seem to cover some of the same ideas, with slightly different perspectives. I think these sections would benefit by being integrated into a single section rather than having new sections for each new Wikipedia editor. This is why we are supposed to report on what other critics say, and not create original critical analysis. -- Stbalbach 15:16, 28 January 2007 (UTC)


Pretty much every section needs cleanup by someone familiar with the proper tone and structure of a Wikipedia article.

Cleanup Part 2[edit]

This article is very poorly written. The following paragraph reads like it is written in Engrish/Chingrish.

"Pi asks the two people which one of the two stories, since they shouldn’t care which one is true, which of the stories they prefer, which is the better story. The people say it’s the story with the animals. Pi thanks them and says this also goes for God."

I edited the grammar and punctuation mistakes however this has been changed back to the original version. I suggest the author takes some English lessons. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:34, 16 July 2010 (UTC)


What referencing style is this article using? It has both MLA and Harvard referencing styles. I'm tempted to transfer everything to Harvard, if there are no objections. Wikipedia guidelines ask that articles remain consistent in style. Wrad 06:14, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia guidelines prefer Harvard citations over MLA. I think that'd be good to make it all consistent with Harvard. --JayHenry 14:57, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

Should the section about Yann Martel be removed?[edit]

Considering that there is already an article about him a section about him will not be needed here.GreaterWikiholic 23:28, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Agreed - though I think the final two sentences might be kept and incorporated elsewhere. Victoriagirl 00:48, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
Okay, I shall try to do that. GreaterWikiholic 16:58, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Scale diagram[edit]

I have added a hand-drawn scale diagram to the page, as the first time I was reading the book I thought it would be an interesting and useful resource to have, in order to picture the action more clearly. The measurements all come directly from the text (Chapter 50, pp. 137-9 in the Canongate/UK edition) so I don't think it counts as original research. Other than that I just included scale drawings of a Bengal tiger and a 6 foot human for reference purposes. I'm unsure if my zebra is to scale.

Anyway I hope this is a valid and welcomed addition to this already brilliant article! Tredanse 07:02, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

This is a nice picture since the one that comes on the cover was obviously drawn by someone who never read the book, and it makes things a bit confusing considering the one described in the novel is so much larger.Cank 17:13, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

Removal of all the 'analyze' Section[edit]

I have read this just now, and i realized all of this is PERSONAL analysis, not something that Author directly said.

Example of this is symbolism section: Richard Parker symbolize animalistic character of human, but Richard Parker can also be interpreted as "Survival Instinct". Am i correct? Therefore, there are MANY MANY evidences in this book that proves both of them, which as long as these two facts has proof from the book, it cannot be proven which is true unless Yarn Martel tells us.

There are many ways to analyze this story. For example, if i were to say, The algae island may represent island of Evan, but also may represent Organized religion. No? Both can be proved with many evidences in the book.

The analyze section of this page should be removed. 16:13, 24 November 2007 (JPN)

Fair use rationale for Image:Lifeofpi.jpg[edit]

Nuvola apps important.svg

Image:Lifeofpi.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to ensure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images lacking such an explanation can be deleted one week after being tagged, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.

BetacommandBot (talk) 23:24, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Analysis of story[edit]

The following was deleted from the article (by someone last year). I didn't write it, but I've moved it here so that readers can decide what to do with it, there is a lot of material here, some of it insightful. (talk) 06:37, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Hi, I removed it, and you may have noticed I removed it again. It may be insightful and true, but it's original research, the result of some editor's opinion of the text and not that of any published literary figure. Because of the kind of personal essays on any book this would open up, we do not allow this to be included.--Loodog (talk) 18:25, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

I've rescued this little gem of analysis, it can be FOUND HERE. Green Cardamom (talk) 05:13, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

Main character's name[edit]

Why not mention that "Piscine Molitor" is a swimming pool in Paris? "Piscine" means "swimming pool" in French, while "Molitor" is a neighborhood of Paris (near Auteuil). Since the author spent several years growing up in Paris (from age 7 to 11, I believe), he definitely found inspiration to name his character from that swimming pool. See the link —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:56, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

What happened?[edit]

Someone took out the intirety of the plot synopsis! Why would someone do that?-- (talk) 16:28, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Does this article choose one interpretation?[edit]

The article states that Richard Parker was part of Pi. Since the author leaves it up to the reader as to which story he/she wants to believe, then what right do we have to promote one interpretation over the other? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:05, 19 July 2008 (UTC)


Someone unsigned added the following text. "However, the choice of the name Patel is a strange one for a family which is portrayed as typically South Indian. Patel is a Gujarati surname which would not be normally found in the region of Pondicherry. While most non-Indian readers did not notice or care, many Indian readers found this evidence of unacceptably poor research on the author's part. By comparison, it would be like having a novel about a typical Spanish family living in small-town Spain with the surname Tchaikovsky, and not bothering to explain anything about how that came to be."

and someone unsigned deleted it. Both with no comments. I found the text an interesting comment so have saved it here in the discussion. Should it go back in?

pheon (talk) 21:42, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Not without reference/source! And i not unsigned but not logged in too! :) (talk) 06:12, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
This is a totally valid criticism but yes, it should not be in the article without citation. (talk) 05:20, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Link not working[edit]

The following link is not working anymore:

Nothing to be done, or should it be removed? (talk) 06:14, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

Good catch. For some reason the guardian moved the location of the link. I found it here:
Should be all fixed now. --JayHenry (talk) 06:31, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

Summary Question[edit]

I added a summary sentence that was removed twice. I won't put it back but why was it marked 'Innacurate, opinion'? It seems factual to me.

This is what I wrote

The Life of Pi is a story about a mentally unstable boy who suffers an extremely traumatic event. Unable to face reality, he retreats into denial, inventing a delusional fantasy involving anthropomorphisation of large characteristic megafauna. He unfortunately does not receive treatment for his delusions.

Doubt00zero (talk) 19:47, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Hi Doubt. I believe Martel's theme of reality vs. interpretation in the novel is fairly complex and doesn't lend itself well to a simple first-story-fake-second-story-real conclusion. Consider the following quote by the author:
What I was trying to do in this book was try and discuss how we interpret reality - most secular readers will read the book and say 'Ah, okay, there's one story told and actually something else happened, and Pi 'invented' this other story to pass the time, or make his reality bearable. That's the secular. The other one, the more religious interpretation, would just be the story you're reading and that's what happened... Reality isn't just "out there", like some block of cement: reality is an interpretation. [1]
--Trystan (talk) 20:15, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

But if "reality is an interpretation" then surely my summary is real and true and hence not "inaccurate and opinion" and deserves to go back in. Doubt00zero (talk) 04:29, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

External links, revisited[edit]

I've tagged the section as needing cleanup, and removed what I thought would be links what would be least controversial to remove. I notice in the edit history that the links were cut back in almost an identical fashion on 31 August 2008 . Judging by the regular spamming of links to this article, I think the external links need to be kept to a minimum and be well-justified. The links are diverting editor's time and attention away from improving the article. --Ronz (talk) 20:04, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree. The four reviews should remain until someone puts in some comments about the critical reception of the book. The interview links are useful and could form the basis of a section discussing the author's view of his work. pheon (talk) 00:18, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

Then why did you remove all the links and the references that weren't linked in? --Ronz (talk) 17:38, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

We should like them in. They are still there to reference when we need to. But I thought the whole idea was to tidy things up. pheon (talk) 21:18, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

I've restored them. I'm hoping that if someone were to look in the article history, they could determine when each reference was added, and how it was used. If a reference was used as a source for information, it should be linked to that information. Otherwise, it would be helpful to move it to this talk page, where it could be considered as a potential source by others. --Ronz (talk) 00:49, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

OK pheon (talk) 01:12, 22 January 2009 (UTC)


This wikipedia article starts with "Life of Pi is a factual adventure novel written by Canadian author Yann Martel. The story was inspired by Martel's childhood friend Eleanor and her adventures in India." In interviews and an essay written by Martel, there is no mention of any Eleanor and he clearly states that it is a work of fiction that came to him in a moment of inspiration and with inspiration from other works and research. [1]. [2].

This article could also benefit from a proofreading for grammar. Roman2009 (talk) 00:08, 15 March 2010 (UTC)


[2] (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 09:53, 27 July 2010 (UTC).

Cool HiLo48 (talk) 10:47, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Bengal tiger image[edit]

Caption: "A Bengal tiger much like the one that spent 227 days with Pi"

Shouldn't it read "A Bengal tiger exactly like the one that spent 227 days with Pi"? Or better yet, remove this pointless image entirely. The book features a tiger as a main character -- at least, in one interpretation of the story. Should The Chronicles of Narnia article feature a stock photo of an African lion, with a caption reading "An African lion much like the one that reigns as an allegorical Christ in the magical land of Narnia"? (talk) 04:44, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

Themes section[edit]

I am going to remove the themes section because it is all original research. Here it is:

Throughout the novel, Pi has a very strong belief in God, and his piety transcends theological boundaries and dogma. Hence, he practices three religions—Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism.
===The reoccurring presence of the number three===
Numerous events in the book occur in threes; three religions, three animals on the seaweed island, pi (∏) is 3.14
Pi tells survival stories of his time on the boat with Richard Parker.
===Storytelling and rituals===
Martel brings up the theme of ritual many times throughout the novel, as well as the theme of storytelling. Rituals give structure to abstract ideas and emotions—in other words, ritual is an alternate way of storytelling. Rituals and storytelling kept Pi Patel sane.

If you can find scholars or reviewers that mention these themes, you can put them back in. Otherwise, they constitute original research. Roseclearfield (talk) 14:46, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

Opening sentence[edit]

The opening sentence as been stable for many years and has read "Life of Pi is a fantasy adventure novel by Canadian author Yann Martel." I have reverted the sentence to that form as it has been the consensus for many years. Any changes to it need to be justified. pheon (talk) 23:32, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

Interpretations Section[edit]

Is there justification for adding an interpretations section? After watching the movie, I found that I had completely missed the most significant sentence of the book, "And so it goes with God." Others viewing the article may find it valuable to understand others' interpretations of various aspects of the story, especially this easily overlooked, but most significant sentence. I think it would be worthwhile to point out somehow how that statement implies that religion, like the stories told in the book, is an equally valid explanation of reality, and one can find similar degrees of validation in various religions as Pi did as a child, so long as they are all consistent with reality, and serve as a useful perception of it. Religion then becomes a matter of taste (which story do you prefer) rather than a matter of fact. The statement suggests that one can choose the story or religion that best suits their interaction with the world, and it's as valid a choice as that of anyone else so long as the verifiable facts are unchanged by either choice. — Preceding unsigned comment added by BlueMonkMN (talkcontribs) 14:40, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

Yes, absolutely. An Interpretations/Themes section is noticeably absent from the article. It is the type of section, though, that needs to be tightly cited to reliable sources to avoid WP:OR. The existing Narrative Structure section could easily grow into a more general section on literary analysis of the novel.--Trystan (talk) 19:23, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

Theatrical Adaptaions?[edit]

I had a look at the "Twisting Yarn Theatre Company" Facebook page and it appears that this entire section of the article is dedicated to what appears to be an amateur children's production. While I am sure these kids did a lovely production and their teacher/director got some nice publicity for their play - it doesn't seem to me that this belongs in the article. Any thoughts? Cleo123 (talk) 04:54, 9 December 2012 (UTC)


There are certain grammatical errors in the "Characters" section.

1. "He was named after a swimming pool in Paris, despite the fact that neither his father particularly liked swimming." Neither + nor rule is not followed.

2. The story is told as a narrative from the perspective of a middle-aged Pi, now married and with his own family, and living in Canada. At the time of main events of the story, he is sixteen years old. Correction should be:- "At the time of main events of the story, he was sixteen years old."

Sanga Guite (talk) 08:46, 1 February 2013 (UTC)

Max and The Cats[edit]

Max and The Cats its an allegory for Brazilian dictatorship as stated by the author not as an allegory for Nazism as stated in the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:16, 3 March 2013 (UTC)

Error in plot summary[edit]

The third paragraph in the plot section describes the Patel family selling the zoo and refers to "having sex with the animals." Is that possibly some sort of joke? (talk)nmp —Preceding undated comment added 01:46, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

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  1. ^ How I Wrote Life of Pi by Yann Martel:
  2. ^ Interview with Ray Suarez on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer: