Pi tells us that he was named after a swimming pool (the Piscine Molitor in Paris) and he chose to abbreviate his name to Pi after being teased mercilessly throughout primary school as ‘Pissing’ Patel.
But it’s no coincidence that Pi is also the name of the irrational number Π, a number that goes on forever without discernable pattern, and is used in calculations of a circle’s circumference and area. In interviews Yann Martel has said:
‘I chose the name Pi because it’s an irrational number … Yet scientists use this irrational number to come to a “rational” understanding of the universe. To me, religion is a bit like that, “irrational” yet with it we come together we come to a sound understanding of the universe.’
How does this affect your understanding of Pi’s significance in this story? Is the story about Pi, or is Pi part of a bigger story? And do you think it’s significant that the book is called Life of Pi rather than The Life of Pi?