‘Life of Pi’ Ending Explained

Published 2 years ago by , Updated February 19th, 2014 at 10:25 am,

Life of Pi Ending Explained Life of Pi Ending Explained

Ang Lee’s Life of Pi is racking-up critical acclaim (read our review) and pre-award season buzz along with solid box office numbers. Though, for every mention of the film’s beautiful 3D or amazing CGI tiger, there’s a fuddled viewer confused by the movie’s controversial ending.

Readers of Yann Martel’s original novel (the ones who made it to the end) have already faced the challenging last-minute question presented by the story’s narrator, but filmgoers expecting a fanciful adventure at sea have been understandably caught off-guard by the finale. No doubt, viewers will debate the ending with friends and family – but to help steer discussion we’ve put together a brief analysis of the Life of Pi ending, explaining why the final question may not be as cut and dry as some moviegoers seem to think.

It goes without saying that the remainder of this article will contain MAJOR SPOILERS for Life of Pi - the movie and the book (especially the ending). If you do not want to be spoiled about either, turn away now.

Life of Pi Shipwreck Life of Pi Ending Explained

For anyone who hasn’t seen (or read) Life of Pi and isn’t concerned about having the ending spoiled, Pi’s adventure concludes in a Mexican hospital bed – where he is interviewed by a pair of Japanese Ministry of Transport officials. The agents tell Pi that his story – which includes multiple animal companions and a carnivorous island – is too unbelievable for them to report, so Pi tells them a different version of the story: one that paints a much darker and emotionally disturbing variation of events. After both stories have been shared, Pi leaves it up to the viewer (or reader) to decide which version they “prefer.”

Personal “preference” has larger thematic meaning, when viewed in the context of the overarching story; however, before we analyze the ending (via the question) in greater detail, we’re going to briefly lay out the two versions of Pi’s story.

In both accounts, Pi’s father contracts a Japanese ship to transport his family, along with a number of their zoo animals, from India to Canada in an effort to escape political upheaval in their native country. The stories are identical up until Pi climbs aboard the lifeboat (following the sinking of the cargo ship) only re-converging when he is rescued on the Mexican shore. The 227 days that Pi spends lost at sea are up for debate.

Life of Pi Richard Parker Life of Pi Ending Explained

The Animal Story

In this version of Pi’s tale, the cargo ship sinks and, during the ensuing chaos, he is joined on the lifeboat by a ragtag group of zoo animals that also managed to escape: an orangutan, a spotted hyena, a zebra with a broken leg, and a Bengal Tiger (named Richard Parker). After some time, Pi watches helplessly as the hyena kills the zebra and then the orangutan before it is, subsequently, dispatched by Richard Parker. Pi then sets about conditioning the tiger through rewarding behavior (food and fresh water), so that the two can co-exist in the boat. Though Pi succeeds, the pair remain on the verge of starvation – until, after several months at sea, they wash ashore an uncharted island packed with fresh vegetation and a bountiful meerkat population. Pi and Richard Parker stuff themselves, but soon discover that the island is home to a carnivorous algae that, when the tide arrives, turns the ground to an acidic trap. Pi realizes that eventually the island will consume them – so he stocks the lifeboat with greens and meerkats and the pair sets sail again. When the lifeboat makes landfall along the Mexican coast, Pi and Richard Parker are once again malnourished – as Pi collapses on the beach, he watches the Bengal Tiger disappear into the jungle without even glancing back.

Pi is brought to a hospital – where he tells the animal story to the Japanese officials. However, when the agents do not believe his tale, the young survivor tells a different version of his journey.

Life of Pi Suraj Sharma Boat Life of Pi Ending Explained

The Human Story

In this version of Pi’s tale the cargo ship still sinks, but instead of the ragtag group of animals in the lifeboat, Pi claims that he was joined by his mother (Gita), the ship’s despicable cook, and an injured Japanese sailor. After some time, fearing for the limited supplies in the boat, the cook kills the weakened Japanese sailor, and later, Gita. Scarred from watching his mother die in front of his eyes, Pi kills the cook in a moment of self-preservation (and revenge).

Pi does not mention his other adventures at sea (the carnivorous island, etc) but it’d be easy to strip away some of the fantastical elements in favor of more grounded (albeit allegorical) situations. Maybe he found an island but realized that living is more than just eating and existing – deciding to take his chances at sea instead of wasting away in apathy on a beach eating meerkats all alone. Of course, that is purely speculation – since, again, Pi does not elaborate on the more grounded human story beyond the revelation that he was alone on the lifeboat.

Life of Pi Whale Life of Pi Ending Explained

The Ending Explained

Even if the connection between the lifeboat parties was missed, the writer makes the connection for the audience (or readers): the hyena is the cook, the orangutan is Pi’s mother, the zebra is the sailor, and Richard Parker is Pi. However, the film’s juxtaposition of the animal story and the human story has led many moviegoers to view the last-minute plot point as a finite “twist” – which was not the original intention of Martel (with the book) or very likely Lee (with the film). Viewers have pointed to the look of anguish on Pi’s face during his telling of the human story in the film as “proof” that he was uncomfortable facing the true horror of his experience. However, the novel takes the scene in the opposite direction, with Pi expressing annoyance at the two men – criticizing them for wanting “a story they already know.” Either way, much like the ending of Inception (read our explanation of that ending), there is no “correct” answer – and Life of Pi intentionally leaves the question unanswered so that viewers (and readers) can make up their own mind.

Facing the final question, it can be easy to forget that, from the outset, The Writer character was promised a story that would make him believe in God. In the first part of the narrative, we see Pi struggling to reconcile the differences between faith interpretations (Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam) – acknowledging that each of them contained valuable elements, even if they tell different stories (elements that together help him survive his ordeal at sea regardless of whether or not he was there with a tiger).

As a result, the larger question is impossible to answer definitively and, as mentioned, the “truth” of Pi’s story is of little concern to Martel or Lee. The real question is – which story do you, the viewer/reader prefer? Interpretation is subjective but the question is intended to serve as a moment of theological reflection. Are you a person that prefers to believe in things that always make sense/things that you can see? Or are you a person that prefers to believe in miracles/take things on faith? There are no right or wrong answers – just an opportunity for introspection.

Life of Pi Island Life of Pi Ending Explained

Pi is faced with a heavy challenge: telling a story that will make a person believe in God. Some listeners might remain unconvinced but in the case of The Writer, who openly admits that he prefers the story with the tiger, and the Japanese officials, who in their closing report remarked on the feat of “surviving 227 days at sea… especially with a tiger,” Pi successfully helps skeptics overcome one of the largest hurdles to faith – believing in the unbelievable.

Since Pi marries The Writer’s preference for the Tiger story with the line, “and so it goes with God,” it’s hard to separate the question entirely from theology. Evidenced by his multi-religion background, Pi does not believe that any of the world’s religions are a one-stop shop for the truth of God – and his goal is not to convert anyone to a specific dogma. Instead, his story is set up to help viewers/readers consider which version of the world they prefer – the one where we make our own way and suffer through the darkness via self-determination, or the one where we are aided by something greater than ourselves (regardless of which version of “God” we may accept).

That said, aside from all the theological implications, and regardless of personal preference, it’s insular to view the ending as simply a dismissal of everything that Pi had previously described (and/or experienced) – since, in keeping with his view that every religious story has worthwhile parts, a third interpretation of the ending could be that the “truth” is a mix of both stories. Like Pi and his three-tiered faith routine, the viewer/reader can always pick and choose the parts that benefit their preferred version of the tale.

Life of Pi Suraj Sharma Life of Pi Ending Explained

The “truth”: Pi survived for 227 days at sea, married the girl of his dreams, had children, and lived to tell two stories.

Like any quality piece of entertainment, a lot of this is subjective and there are multiple ways of interpreting the Life of Pi ending, so feel free to (respectfully) share your interpretation with fellow moviegoers in the comment section below.

For an in-depth discussion of the film by the Screen Rant editors check out our Life of Pi episode of the SR Underground podcast.


Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for more on Life of Pi as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.

Life of Pi is now playing in theaters everywhere. It is Rated PG for emotional thematic content throughout, and some scary action sequences and peril.

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2,794 Comments - Comments are closed.

  1. Just watched Life of Pi, well made movie I must say… I was looking forward to “hearing a story which made me believe in God” sorry but doesnt it do the the exact opposite? Great advice from the father “I rather have you believe in something we disagree on than have you accepting everything blindly, and it all starts with thinking rationally”… Which version do I prefer? The one with the animals in it of course, now which do I believe or which is the “truth”? It is a question of whether you are a person to face a hard truth or do you route evidence for convenience and choose to believe a nice lie… It gives proof of how the idea of God is an invention of the human mind… Does it matter if the outcome of both stories was the same? Well, does the truth matter to you? I know it does to me… Do you search for answers or do you just have faith, period. If Pi was the tiger, then he ate part of the zabra (sailor) and he ate the hiena (cook)… He canivalized himself and invented a story to both forgive and cope with himself for the rest of his life… So he says “he brought out the evil in me, I have to live with that, I was alone in a boat and I survived” and “hunger can change everything you ever thought you knew about yourself”… Storytelling is fantastic though, well done!

  2. The movie kept me on edge throughout with exitment and thrill.. Adrenaline rusher esp at sea this movie..

  3. I think the first story was the real deal and the second was made up and it hurt pi knowing that horror would be believed more than a miracle event that had taken place for him only to be dismissed as unbelievable now that would hurt

  4. Ijust wanna say that the journey between Pi was on the island and finally got on the spainish harbor was too fast, I didn’t have enough information. And I don’t know why the last scene showed that the tiger went into the forest and the forest like falling down infront of the screen. I love the real story (with the tiger).It’s a really good movie.

  5. There was another animal everybody forgot. The sheep! The sheep was the audience! Cummon sheeple “Life of Pi” was a cheap trick. Just leave a bunch of holes in your story, then let everyone try to fill in the blanks with speculation?

    The only message I got was…. Pi cannot be trusted!

    Pi tells two conflicting stories so regardless of the circumstances, he is simply a liar. When the Japanese men object, he has another version ready to go for them. At that time, maybe he had a reason to fib… But now, many years later, he’s telling the story again (for the writer)and has the opportunity to tell the truth, but he opts to keep it a mystery. So which story do you “prefer”? Personally, I don’t prefer mysteries. I prefer “Castaway” with Tom Hanks!

  6. I read the book and finally watched the movie. My take on the ending is that the “animal” version is an allegory for what actually happened. The allegory is preferred by Pi because it provides a richer and deeper understanding and even meaning of events. Pi and the tiger are two sides of the human condition. Pi lives in fear and weakness but uses rationality to overcome darkness. Richard Parker (notably a human name) is all instinct. He relies on raw power and strength and savagery to survive. For a moment, in the book, these two become one as they talk to one another. Both sides are needed to survive. When Pi and the tiger finally land in Mexico, the tiger disappears into the jungle. Pi’s need for his sheer animal power is over now that he has survived.

    In this sense, religion provides stories that are not factual. However, like any good novel, religious stories give us the chance to see ourselves in the story and gain insights for living. The truths are not facts but the observations about what it means to be human.

    • That is an excellent interpretation :)

    • Well said John. That is exactly how I interpreted the ending as well. Actually, after watching the movie, I didn’t perceive it as an open-ended story. The first story was very fantastic in setting. The second story was much more realistic, which aligns with the realistic present day setting.

      On the theme of religion and faith… I’ll take it one step further and say that Pi does not believe in God. He does not identify himself with one, but, three different religions. This in turn makes him not a true follower of any one of them. This point was made by his parents at the dinner table in the beginning of the movie. Recall that his parents gave up religion in favor of science and western medicine. Towards the end, Pi admitted that his Dad was right on many levels – He needed to create Richard Parker (his primordial self) to keep him not only busy, but alive. God will not save him, but distilled water, canned food, and fishing skills will. At the very end of the move, he asks the writer which story he would rather hear now that he knows the true version of the story. Essentially asking: Is he religious (and therefore believes in God)? The writer, with a look of enlightenment, chooses the fantastic story. Therefore, Pi has made him believe in God, which was the purpose of his visit. Pi may choose to tell the fantastic version of the story, but inside, he knows that it is fantastically embellished, not disimilar to stories in the Bible.

    • Yeah, I agree with this. Altough, I read somewhere that this movie has actually given many Chinese the shivers, especially as most seem more inclined to believe what lies underneath the surface story. “This is truly a horror story. I couldn’t sleep the night after I watched Life of Pi,”

      This is an article I read by searching ”Life of Pi carnivorous island explained”, and it led me to this article where they talk about a much more serious story of cannibalism. The ‘floating island’ wich had a shape of what it looked like a human floating, actually represented Pi’s dead mother and the meerkats, acid and all that, represents maggots and the body rotting, after Pi fed himself on it multiple times. After reading this I saw the movie again and you can actually hear all source of suspicious quotes like ”You do unimaginable things when you’r hungry” and ”Hunger can change everything you thought you knew yourself”.

      They actually say, that the moral of the movie is that ”The
      belief in God is not real, but a way to escape a horrific reality”. And it all makes sence.. Pi ate the other people. But he didn’t eat his mother
      until he had lost all the rest of his food, then, now starving and
      close to death, he finds a magical Island that saves him… And the entire boat story, the beatific images are imagination.

      ”He does NOT give himself into God’s hands, as he says, IN FACT the
      salvation God offers, as he says, is the Island… So the salvation is
      cannibalizing his mother. And at this point belief in God becomes an
      escape from reality, not a belief that God IS reality.”

  7. The tiger is Pi’s father
    The island is satin

  8. The tiger is Pi’s father.
    The island is satin.

  9. The true story was with the humans, but Pi told the story as it would be found in the bible through analogies with animals., so that you could learn the lesson but not as the cold hard facts. Believing in God means searching for that faith and applying it to real life. Think about it God doesn’t come straight down to earth and personally direct us in our life but we have to learn, just like how the animal analogy about life.

  10. i believe that this movie is a “wonderful” sneaky trap to push people to make a wrong conclusion about God that is only a useful creation of our fantasy in order to survive within the dificulties of life. I cryed alot with the painful adventures of Pi BUT I feel that i lost my time watching it even if it had so wonderful pictures because the conclusion was misleading -that God is a ” useful or vital myth”-…I FELT THAT this movie is a SEDUCTION FROM CINEMA TECHNOLOGY IN ORDER TO make people LOSE their FAITH TO GOD.It is a cynic insult with the camuflaze of the impartial acceptance of all concepts about God’s existance as simply “USEFUL even fake”. I personaly could feel even insulted by this sly movie’s end because i was promised to see a movie that would increase my apreciation for God and now i see that the author had exactly the opposite intention = to make a sly cynic demolition to people’s faith in God …..Actualy with this story people who dont believe in God are giving A WRONG EXPLANATION TO THEM SELVES WHY OTHER PEOPLE BELIVE IN GOD but iF GOD EXISTS such missconseptions will harm only them .-sory for the bad syntax i m not native english speaker..

    • no you got it right. believing in gods is comforting, but not true. true to the person because they believe in it and are comforted by it, but not actually real.

      • And how exactly do you know that God is ‘not actually real’? Enlighten us common folk.

        • Because of the celestial teapot

        • It’s pretty obvious that pi’s father is god, after all he owns a zoo.

    • I see people in the comments here going into things like “this is to make people lose faith in god” god this god that, but honestly who cares, its a good movie, and a good book, all that matters is if you liked it or not, no need to get crazy over it, its all made to tell you a wonderful and interesting story, to entertain.

    • I agree %100! Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the book and the movie, but this is the exact conclusion I came to after I read the book first. I felt that the author might respect peoples dedication to faith, but ultimately the conclusion we are supposed to come to is that we are too smart to really believe in God. Nice try, but it really misses the mark of Truth.

    • Relax. It’s a movie – it’s meant to entertain you. It’s not propaganda. No one is forcing you to watch it. The only reason the people who made the movie would lure you to see the movie is because they want your money, not to persuade you that God does not exists. Only the best movies can stir your emotions and leave an imprint in your mind. If you felt that much emotions throughout the movie, then you need to give it a thumbs up and leave it at that!

      • I agree with you wholeheartedly Sam; I say relax to those who are offended by this movie because they deliberately believe that the author was out to
        “bash faith” I’m not religious but I do respect those who are.

        Movies are mean’t for entertainment. All in all, great movie.

  11. Key points power of a story and how it can shape you – the priest said to pi you are Thirsty – tiger was only needed at times of danger or at his lowest ebb – animals represented the types of animal instinct we have hyena chef resourceful eat anything – zebra and orangatan vegitatarians – pi’s journey was very real to him and the animals in the sense of exploring himself wholely and used rationallity as well as spiritualism – they dowsnt need to be answers to which one is true as its a belief a faith and abandonment of yourself – knowing you are part of a bigger plan and a balance within the universal – pi’s spiritual journey and the struggle to know yourself and be at peace with all you faults – interesting film

    • Thanks for reminding me of the priest’s comment to Pi, “You are Thirsty,” which clarifies for me that Pi and the Tiger are one and the same. Remember that the tiger’s name was originally Thirsty, but a clerical (human) error changed it to Richard Parker. Tiger represents the animalistic nature of humans/Pi which he needed to survive. As someone said in another post, once Pi landed on the Mexican beach the Tiger walked away without a backward glance. That side of Pi was no longer needed to survive. I also agree with the idea of the island representing Satan/temptation to give up and live a less-than-fulfilling life. Interesting story.

  12. Do you recall the scene where Pi said he anticipated reading the writer’s next book in the series, and the writer conveyed that he didn’t like his own work and had scrapped it…? It may be insignificant, but the writer had therefore, denied his readers (including Pi) of a proper conclusion to his story line. I’m pointing it out because Pi hangs his audience too (including the writer). I think the author is trying to hint of his own writing struggles with this novel. He probably wanted to scrap it! He admits, writing “Life of Pi” was a long difficult journey and took years to complete. This story is chock full of inconsistency, contradiction, and loose ends. Somehow this is its quality? “Life of Pi” had an identity crisis, and a trick theme. It felt incomplete because it was. Maybe it just wasn’t going to make sense, like he had writer”s block or something, and didn’t know how to wrap it up. Just look at all these lost souls jumping to conclusions, and trying to make sense? I wonder how much of the so-called symolism was intentional. I’m just saying, it seems some of these comments project more thoughtfulness and creativity than the story itself. I suppose perception is reality.

  13. Gorgeous Tale In An Enoch Arden Fashion. A Choice To Choose AsLways Produces A Happier Ending. I Most Certainly Prefer The Tiger Story.

  14. I was just thinking, if the animals really were on the life boat, but without the hyena, it would’ve been the tiger who killed the zebra and the orangutan. I remember getting so mad at the hyena. I hated him. But if it would’ve been the tiger to kill those two animals I would’ve hated the tiger as well. I’ve read almost all the comments on this and i’m still confused though. How can the tiger be God when he has the same instincts as the hyena?

    • the tiger isn’t god, belief in the the animal story is belief in god

      • Oh ok, I see. Thank you. I’ve never seen a movie that has made me think so much!

        • Really? Try watching Cloud Atlas. That will make you think for days.

  15. There was nothing to explain that wasn’t self-evident: Pi survived. But God only knows exactly how Pi survived, i.e., even Pi cannot fully explain his experiences in rational or culturally acceptable terms. Hence, Pi’s animal story (or any other mythology…all of them contain sublimations of truth). Yet Pi was expected to tell some other story that was acceptable, if not more believable. And so he told another story that also tests human rationalism.

    It seems to me that either or both interpretations together force a belief in God.

  16. Im a little confused, in the end the writer reads from the report, that Pi has survived 227 days at sea with a tiger. But if the story with the humans is the “real” one and the story with the animals is a different way of telling this story, then why would they write this in the report?

    • The japanese inspector faced the same choice as the writer; which story
      was preferable? After hearing both he also chose the one with the animals and put it in his report. It doesn’t mean there was any independent evidence
      that the animal story was true.

      • But didn’t they write the human story in the report?

  17. great. to me the ending is deep. we can only see god by ourselves and when we do the rational world doesn’t understand and looks for even more bizarre explanations than the reality experienced…. which is where the prefer bit comes in. if you believe something i.e. there is no god then you prefer explanations that exclude it.as pis mum said spirituality explains inside while science explains outside… pi seeing god in the thunderstorm was an expression of internal experiences at the time… to me the ending is just the ending as told though… life and god is uncertain and what written believe helps us close through gestalt on out understanding… very clever.

  18. great. to me the ending is deep. we can only see god by ourselves and when we do the rational world doesn’t understand and looks for even more bizarre explanations than the reality experienced…. which is where the prefer bit comes in. if you believe something i.e. there is no god then you prefer explanations that exclude it.as pis mum said spirituality explains inside while science explains outside… pi seeing god in the thunderstorm was an expression of internal experiences at the time… to me the ending is just the ending as told though… life and god is uncertain and what written believe helps us close the gestalt on out understanding… very clever.

  19. Ah. This movie. Words fail, kind of. Let’s say that there are hopefully several million people all over the world that really GOT
    this movie. As Ang and the amazing writer David Green intended. It is beyond the word beautiful, in that every word and every scene has meaning, and the actors are beyond praise.

    I could not have more love for this movie, and it is a reconnection with the Creator, for sure, who had to be in on this project. All I know is that for the rest of my life whenever I hear any mention of “which one do you prefer”, I will see Pi’s eyes, and probably break down and start to dribble tears for about 20 minutes.

    That’s the way it goes with God.

  20. Our family had some different takes on it. We noted the cook insulting the mother for not eating meat. Then the cook (or hyena) ate the meat on the boat (the other people, or, the other animals). Pi was visibly distraught as it happened; at that point, the hiding tiger came out. From then on, Pi was faced with despair over his own savage/evil side having come out. However, just like he chose to overcome his name as a child (and turn it into something greater and more awesome), he made the choice to see his fate as something more powerful and awesome: a spiritual commentary of life and death in living creatures. So he saw the deplorable human actions on his lifeboat instead as a more natural animal story. However, my guess is that he really wrestled with the idea of the cook eating the meat (a human). He resisted it, and tried to get the tiger to eat fish. At some point, the tiger and the boy realized they were dying. They were at their lowest point. It was then that they found the island, where meat was abundant. We thought the island represented the turning point where Pi, on the boat, decided to eat meat. Possibly, the island was just in his own mind: a moment of peace, rest, and clarity, when he decided to eat the people on the boat. The beautiful lotus flower had a carnivorous tooth inside. The beautiful can have a savage side. The island can be both light, and dark. The rice can be eaten with gravy, and you can still be a happy Buddhist. We think that at that moment, close to dying, he made peace with the idea, and decided to eat the meat. Perhaps he ate the people on his lifeboat, but really, in his mind, he ate the meat/meerkats that God had provided for him . One thing is clear: after that moment of realization, he realized that he had to get back to civilization as soon as possible. And he made it. Then the tiger, and his savage side, left. There was no moment of goodbye to help him process what he had become. (one of my kids even noted that the boat was half red, half white; the tiger stayed on the red side, and he tried to co-exist on the white side, but the tiger wouldn’t take his attempts to establish boundaries, so he ultimately preferred to avoid even being on the boat at all. Was this because there were dead people/meat on the boat, just waiting for him to make a choice?)

  21. I didn’t go through ALL the threads, but has anyone addressed the title of the movie? LIFE OF PI, or rather ETERNAL LIFE? I think the name of PI had been associated to the math mathematical equation was intentional and came first, making up some random French name for a public pool came second and very easily.

  22. Sean almost nails it!
    “When Pi was young he expressed that he didnt’t understand the story of Jesus. That it didnt make sense. At the end, Pi asks the man which story he prefers. The man says he prefers the one with the animals (the one thats unbelievable). Pi says that ‘it is the same with God’.”

    The man says he was told the story will make you believe in God…..

    Many do not understand and therefore fail to believe and yet many still believe. Either way Pi survived the impossible out at sea in both stories and either way no matter which story you prefer ‘science’ or ‘religion’, Jesus suffered and was crucified for the salvation of man……even though some prefer to believe the more seemingly logical explanation provided by facts.

  23. When Pi arrived at the Island , he realised there that just believing in God, would not safe him from a certain dead, he therefore choose to go back to sea and deal with the situation. His father claimed during the beginning of the film that his life was once saved by medical science , and not by just believing in (a)God. Pi says at the end of the movie that he gained his life, thanks to the lessons of his father, who told him to think rational, that was what saved his life. We people, we give always meaning to things that heppenend, thats in our nature, sometimes as in the film to sublimise the hard cold facts.

    • I would say that science is what kept him alive, but the belief in God is what kept him to move forward and not give up.

  24. The tiger was cool and overall a fairly pleasant travel companion?

  25. The island is the culture. Grounded on nothing, sickly sweet on the surface, toxic underneath. Completely lacking in depth and diversity. The meerkats are the island’s society. Conformist, indistinguishable from one another, moving in lock step. They consume all day and hide in their homes at night. Completely adapted to their environment, they can conceive of no other way of life. Pi leaves when he discovers the parasitic nature of the island and decides he would rather die than live in such a way.

    • The shape of the island as the shape of a human may well have represented Pi’s decision to eat human flesh. And, as he became sustained, he could think rationally and knew this path would poison his soul. The poison was manifest when the tide turned…

      Another person mentioned that in the movie there were color differences in the boat – Pi’s side white and the tiger’s side red – - – Doesn’t red represent humanity/blood/earth and white represent the heavens/divinity/purity? Just an observation.

      How thought-provoking. I didn’t even see the movie yet – I just finished the book and I am relieved to read all of these thoughts about the story. I will definitely see the movie now. Glad I read the book, first.

  26. Though prefer version 1 I guess version 2 is the truth. Regarding the name “Richard Parker” in real history, and remembering the priest saying “you must be Thirsty”, that’s the real name of the tiger. The truth involves man-eating, and that island looks just like a woman floating on water, it makes me believe version 2.

  27. These are all very interesting thoughts. But I was also wondering why when the ship was sinking the sailors pushed Pi into the boat because it says in the book that they wanted to use Pi as bait to the hyena. Why would they svae him before themselves. The priest’s comment to Pi was, “You are Thirsty,” which makes me think that Pi and the Tiger are one and the same. Tiger’s name was originally Thirsty. I personally like to believe that the real story included animals because it makes me believe in God. It seems more heroic, and it does seem that way in the book. I also think the human story is soild too. Whichever way is true the book and movie were my favorite I’ve seen in a while. I hope everyone can get to enjoy this novel/flim.

  28. Overall, I still believe in god and the animal story. And I believe the author is trying to make people believe in god:
    1. Fundamentally, the movie isn’t based on a true story. So just like most novels, it is the author wants to tell us something based on his/others’ experiences/. At the end of the day, to proof there is no god, a fake story is not enough, he has to illustrate more scientific or serious proof
    2. About “Thirsty”, I now agreed with you, it seems the story did imply Thirsty is PI.. So tiger’s name changed, so was PI’s name. There are many details to be noticed:
    2.1. Tiger’s name is changed to Richard Parker by human who believed in no god.
    2.2. Ignore the fact PI changed his own name, just think he was “Thirsty”, that name was before he believe in Christian god, isn’t that implying, after he believes in Christian god, he is not “thirsty” anymore?
    3. Now let’s think about this, thirsty, without religion belief in the other version of the story, shows the darkness side of human.
    PI, previous thristy, who believes in god, show the greatness to “thirsty”.
    So what the author trying to say here? Isn’t he saying a human, depending on whether he believes in god or not, will do different things on different journeys, have a different story ending?
    The animal version of thirsty, at the end of the journey, will care no others, so he would not look back. (Not think throughly yet, my mind still trying to give some nice comments to the tiger.)
    The human version of previous thristy, PI, still expected and tried to make connection between god and “thirsty” human.
    4. Now, I have a feeling this story is use PI as a gift from god, again, to tell people, who all have sins, to believe in god and understand god, and do good things:
    4.1: “Why god send his son to sin and killed by evil people” PI said that made no sense. However, he now released it made sense, so PI did the same thing, PI was sent to stay with curcial creatures, and what he did was to save his life , and tried to teach them to believe in god.
    4.2 : At the end of the day, tiger still be tiger, who has no belief, will turn away from god. In bible, god says, the person who do not believe, only look for proof, they won’t believe in the furture either. as I said last night, people who look for proof won’t see the proof,
    God won’t take care of these people either, their hearts are like stones. So tiger didn’t look back his savior, even though PI eventually still believe he can gave belief to him.
    4.3: the two insurance staff didn’t believe the story in the beginning, but was inspired and believe the story, which is an indication of PI’s success in his mission. And PI passed this to the writer, who doesn’t exist in the book, and the writer carry on to pass god’s story along. PI succesfully connect god with human and leave legacy to the next generations. This is what Jesus did, pass his legay to others, inspired and changed normal human, and connect them to god. This back the point 4.1, why god send him into this adventure, because he then he can carry on his mission and pass this legacy to other humans till generations.

    5. Why best director to Li An, historically, Hollywood doesn’t like big controversial topic, they did before in 1950s by supporting communism, if you look upon the internet, the consequence was devastating, it was a shame in the American history, however, that was a big lesson learn for Hollywood.

    Li Ann received best director from Broken Hill, the best moive that year was Crash. It was said before that best director and the best movie actually are the same. No good director , no successful movie; no great story, no good movie either. To me, broken hill will cause controversy if given best movie, which will cause issue from Catholic and High-end community at that point of time. The same as this PI, if gave it the best movie, then you are saying three religons can believed at the same time??? This is fundamentally against lots of religions including Muslim and Christian. So this is a compromise, the award is given as best director.

    At the end of the day, it is ture that Li Ann is a great director, this novel, maybe like many other novels, was said “impossible to make a movie from”, Li Ann did it. Some others used to say Hollywood normally don’t touch animals and the sea! Li Ann touched both, and made it successful. So he deserves this too.

    5. Back to the author again, the author seems knew well about these major religons. I personally believe, if he can write this book, it is not necessary for him to write against religon beliefs in this way. A possiblity is he lives in a very multicultural country, Canada, with even multi official languages, then he got a very deep understanding what religions’ true meaning to human. So he doesn’t want people use religons as a mean to rule the world or to fight. In the history, religion were used against their enemies before. Hitler used it to against Jews too. I can show you a documentery talking about that in my external hard disk drive.

    So, that’s all my thoughts at this time. what do you think?

  29. My thoughts is the first one is true and PI can survive becuase God gave him a mission. http://blogaulife.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/my-thoughts-on-life-of-pi.html