Discussion questions for Life of Pi

1. When Pi, embarrassed at having been named after a Parisian swimming pool, decides to replace his given name with "Pi," he simply steps up to the chalkboard in each of his classes, and writes his new name, along with (helpfully) the figure 3.14 (the rough mathematical value of pi). His teachers accept this. Does this seem plausible to you? Have you ever been plagued with an unfortunate name or nickname, and what strategies have you taken to be rid of it?

2. The novel offers a number of observations about animals in zoos. I'm sure that most of you have been to a zoo, probably the one at Roger Williams Park. Do your observations there match was Pi says?

3. Early on in his narrative, Pi declares that "To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation." Do you agree? Give your reasons.

4. Besides animals and zoos, another recurrent motif in the novel is food (or, later, the lack thereof) The making of good food, it seems, is almost an alchemical process, a sort of magic. Have you ever experienced food in this way? Would it be possible for someone to make a meal that would change your life? Make you believe in God? Elaborate.