Life of Pi Excerpt

“Events and traits can allow for survival in even the most improbable circumstances.

This is a central theme that is present throughout the Life of Pi excerpt. Pi’s determination and rational behavior, combined with the arrival of flying fish were major factors in Pi’s survival as he faced almost impossible circumstances. If Pi had not exhibited rational behavior, or if the flying fish had not arrived, Pi may have been eaten by Richard Parker.

This article will introduce you to the characters and events from the excerpt of the story. At the end of the article, you will be able to download and read the story for yourself.

Characterization/Motivation to survive

  • In the excerpt of Life of Pi, the main character Pi has a desire to survive through his uncertain situation. Pi is stranded at sea with a tiger named Richard Parker whom Pi cannot communicate with. Pi makes wise decisions, carefully thinking before performing an action. For example, Pi rationalized that Richard Parker would not understand the immense return of using the dead animals as bait. If Pi had not thought about this, Richard Parker may have eaten him. Another trait Pi exhibits is rational actions. For example, Pi stays relatively calm when he feels a strike. Pi thought the strike was from Richard Parker, when it was only a flying fish. If Pi tried to fight Richard Parker, or lose his calm, Richard Parker might have killed him or he might have fallen off the boat. Pi exhibits traits that dramatically increase his chances of survival such as his wise decision-making, calmness throughout the selection, and even his desire to survive. 


  • Pi faces multiple conflicts in the excerpt Life of Pi. For example, Pi faced external conflict at the beginning of the selection where he was not able to find adequate bait in his surroundings. This is an example of external conflict because Pi is fighting with his natural environment for bait. Pi also faces internal conflict throughout the selection. For example, in paragraph 9, Pi thinks about what he can do and how his survival is being threatened. He sees that Richard Parker is very calm and relaxed, but his internal feeling tells him that the calmness will not last for much longer. This causes Pi to become extremely worried, desperately seeking new opportunities for survival.

Author’s Purpose

The author’s purpose for writing this excerpt is to entertain the reader. There are numerous characteristics of the story that show that it was written for entertainment. For one, this story is fictional with fictional characters. This means that the story does not inform the reader of an occurrence of an actual event. Also, the author is not trying to persuade the reader to perform an action in the story. Rather, Life of Pi was written to entertain the reader by giving detailed descriptions of Pi’s feelings and by including surreal situations such as flying fish flying onto Pi’s boat. The reader is entertained by its theme of survival and realistic setting.


There is not a specific audience for this excerpt. The author does not target a specific audience but instead makes the story universally appealing. The author uses everyday language to convey the topics of the story including everyday objects such as fish, boats, tigers, etc. This makes it easier for all readers to understand the story.

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All the legal stuff

Please note that the Life of Pi excerpt is property of Yann Martel and affiliate(s). Neither nor will be held responsable for the content contained in it. If you would like to report a copyright issue, please contact or leave a comment below.

All images are taken from the Life of Pi movie which was directed by Ang Lee.

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This work was created by Rayaan Siddiqui. Please note that this website is owned by

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