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Themes in Life of Pi and Slumdog Millionaire

Life of Pi

  • Religion- Religion is a huge theme in Life of Pi.  Pi follows three religions that help him survive on the lifeboat. Although Pi is religious, he still respects atheists, because he sees them as a kind of believer.
  • Survival- Pi had to survive for 227 day on a lifeboat with Richard Parker. Survival is the definitive theme in the heart of the book, Pi’s time at sea. he must eat meat, he must take life, two things which had always been an evil to him before his survival was at stake.
  • Hope- Pi had hope that he would survive and overcome being standard.

Slumdog Millionaire

  • Poverty- Jamal comes from the `”slums” which is a dirty and rat-invested place. Most of India lives in “slums” just like Jamal did.
  • Underdog- Jamal came into the “Who wants to be a millionaire” as an underdog that no one expected to get very far but he proved them all wrong by winning the gameshow with help from his past.
  •  Love- Jamal loves Latika. The only reason he enters the gameshow is to try and contact Latika. He does whatever he can do to be with her.

-Sean Hegarty

Diary Entry

I thank God for protecting me and allowing me to have the courage to have survived this long on a boat with a Bengal tiger.

Day after day, all I see is a never-ending horizon with not a sign of human civilisation anywhere. I have all the water in the world but not a drop to drink. I grow more and more worried as each day go’s by. With each day that has gone by means an extra day that Richard Parker hasn’t eaten. I worried that Richard Parker will eat me before starvation is upon me. I know I will probably die on this boat.

The fact that I know I will die frightens me. But with this realisation and with all the time in world, I have thought about if I want to survive. My whole family is gone and I don’t know where I stand in the world. But if religion has taught me anything, it would be that miracles happen in our darkest moments. I think I should hold onto hope and pray for my safety. I will take this situation as a test from God to test my strength and belief.

I will apply what I have learnt throughout my life to survive. I will survive as that is the human thing to do. I will show God my strength and passion. I will make him proud.

-Sean Hegarty


22 March 1996 ,Jamal Malik

Today my brother Salim and Myself went to the latrines in the morning so that we could monopolize one and try to make people buy in order to use it, just so that we could make a little money.

Salim has always been obsessed with money I don’t know why, Anyway at one time during the day they were no client so I went to poop, unfortunately 5 minutes later Prakash a citizen of Mumbai we knew wanted to poo but I wasn’t finished and I think he couldn’t wait so he decided to go somewhere else, my brother was really angry at me because I made him lose a customer.

At the same time I heard someone yell that the helicopter of Amitabh Bachchan was about to land, Amitabh is my favorite actor, as soon as I heard that I tried to get out of the Latrine but the door was closed, it was probably Salim’s vengeance. The only chance for me to get out of it was to jump in the poo under the latrine and make my way out to Amitabh helicopter…and I did it, I ran as fast as I could to the Helicopter with all that poo all over me I made my way in the crowd around the Helicopter I went to Amitabh and got his autograph.

I felt like nothing could spoil this day until tonight when Salim took my autograph and went sale it while my mom was busy washing me…I hate my brother.

Diary Entry – Aftermath

Thursday 15 November, 1977

The recent days I have spent in hospital have been a perfect time for reflection. I have been thinking about how I possibly survived 227 days at sea with a vicious animal. It is truly a miracle that anybody can survive that long at all. This sparked the interest of some people.

Two men visited me in the hospital a few days ago and they asked me questions about the events leading up to the sinking of the Tsimtsum and what happened afterwards. I told them about how I escaped on a lifeboat with four other animals; Richard Parker the tiger, Orange Juice the orangutan, a hyena and a zebra with a broken leg. I then began to tell them how we got to a point where myself and Richard Parker were the only two left alive when we landed here on the Mexican border, but the look on their faces told me they were not convinced at all.

They then asked for a story that was more plausible, obviously not believing the previous story I had just told them. I then began to tell them a story in which the animals were portrayed by human characters; Orange Juice became my mom, Gita. The zebra became a weakened sailor and the devious hyena became a sailor. I retold the story by only switching the names and they believed me!

This made me curious about humans not accepting the implausible but possibly true story placed before them just because they have never heard of anything like it before. This seems reasonable, but if everybody was open to all sorts of different stories the world will be a more interesting place…