Life of Pi by Yann Martel

by Catherine Chiu

  • To choose doubt as a philosophy of life akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.
  • It [Christianity] had a reputation for few gods and great violence.
  • Catholics have a reputation for severity, for judgement that comes down heavily.
  • “If you take two steps towards God,” he used to tell me, “God runs to you!”
  • The presence of God is the finest of rewards.
  • Words of divine consciousness: moral exultation; lasting feelings of elevation, elation, joy; a quickening of the moral sense, which strikes one as more important than an intellectual understanding of things; an alignment of the universe along moral lines, not intellectual ones; a realization that the founding principle of existence is what we call love, which works itself out sometimes not clearly, not cleanly, not immediately, nonetheless ineluctably.

    I pause. What of God’s silence? I think it over. I add:


    An intellect confounded yet a trusting sense of presence and of ultimate purpose.
  • “Bapu Gandhi said, ‘All religions are true.’ I just want to love God.”
  • For evil in the open is but evil from within that has been let out. The main battlefield for good is not the open ground of public arena but the small clearing of each heart.
  • The answer is the same all over the world: people move in the hope of a better life.
  • Life has taught him not to show off what is most precious to him.
  • I had never seen real live Americans. They were pink, fat, friendly, very competent, and sweated profusely.
  • Things didn’t turn out the way they were supposed to, but what can you do? You must take life the way it comes at you and make the best of it.
  • I was not wounded in any part of my body, but I had never experienced such intense pain, such a ripping of the nerves, such an ache of the heart.
  • Why can’t reason give greater answers? Why can we throw a question further than we can pull in an answer? Why such a vast net if there’s so little fish to catch?
  • I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unerring ease. It begins in your mind, always. Then fear, disguised in the garb of mild-mannered doubt, slips into your mind like a spy.
  • Faith in God is an opening up, a letting go, a deep trust, a free act of love — but sometimes it was so hard to love. Sometimes my heart was sinking so fast with anger, desolation, and weariness, I was afraid it would sink to the very bottom of the Pacific and I would not be able to lift it back up.
  • It is simple and brutal: a person can get used to anything, even to killing.
  • Can there be any happiness greater than the happiness of salvation? The answer — believe me — is No.
  • “I love you!” The words burst out pure and unfettered, infinite. The feeling flooded my chest. “Truly I do. I love you, Richard Parker. If I didn’t have you now, I don’t know what I would do. I don’t think I would make it. No, I wouldn’t. I would die of hopelessness. Don’t give up, Richard Parker, don’t give up. I’ll get you to land, I promise, I promise!”
  • In this respect, the island was Gandhian: it resisted by not resisting.
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