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Significance of Pi’s Name in Life of Pi

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Pi’s full name, Piscine Molitor Patel, was inspired by a Parisian swimming pool. The shortened form refers to the ration of a circle’s circumference divided by its diameter, a number that goes on forever without discernible pattern, what in mathematics is called an irrational number. Explore the significance of Pi’s unusual name.

( Pi was named Piscine after the swimming pool Piscine Molitor in Paris, France. Pi’s full name is Piscine Molitor Patel, which he later shortens to Pi Patel. Piscine is an adjective that refers to resembling a fish or being fish-like. This was really sneaky of Martel to include foreshadowing of Pi’s journey over a body of water through his name. Most would have probably thought of looking at what the swimming pool was like and doing a background search on it and I doubt many would think to look-up the word Piscine on the dictionary.

After researching a little bit about the history of the pool Piscine Molitor, I found that it was designed to resemble an ocean liner. An ocean liner is a ship that is designed to transport people or cargo from one seaport to another (long-distance transportation). Again, another foreshadowing of what happens to Pi. He goes from the Indian shore and the lifeboat takes him to the Mexican shore, eventually taking him to Canada.

Finally, the shortened form of his name, Pi; the numbers that for Pi has no repeating pattern and is often called an irrational number due to it. Even though there is no pattern, the numbers always stay in the same format, going to infinite decimal form with no end. It is almost like Pi’s journey. While the readers are reading the text, there is one adventure after another day after day, nothing ever being repeated. His decision to take control of his name and shorten it is the first step he takes to become in control of himself, starting with the name and what he is being called – his choice to follow multiple religions follows next.

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