Jan 11, 2013

Do Bananas Float in Seawater?

Posted Jan 11, 2013
Warning this is a spoiler for the 2013 movie Life of Pi.

After watching Life of Pi, I'm not sure which one is the true story. The only giveaway was the banana "fact". In the first story, the Orangutan was on a pile of bananas that float. In the end, the Japanese representative said that bananas don't float. If that's true, then the first story (The one about the animals) may be false. He may have just been hallucinating or traumatized as a child.

After researching, bananas do not easily float.. in freshwater. However, almost anything can float in seawater because of its salinity and density affecting the buoyancy (Highschool all over again). Darn, I thought there was a give away, apparently the Japanese wasn't correct in saying that bananas do not float.

Anyway, I think the whole point of the story is faith. Would you believe in impossible things? :>

Btw, movie is worth watching in 3D. I give it 3.5/5 stars


  1. Yeah... But his mom floated over on bananas in the second story. So bananas floating are part of both stories.

  2. I think the bananas are a metaphor for something, like dead bodies. Dead bodies do float

  3. First off, that is not a metaphor, that is symbolism. Then my hypothesis about this is that the animal story was Pi's method of dealing with the human brutality as it is actually very sickening. In this scenario, Pi, who is rather sane and healthy in the first couple days when the murders took place, would not be hallucinating but just mentally disturbed which would make sense seeing as his own mother has been killed in front of his eyes.

    Although I very much prefer the animal story as it is more vivid and more colourful, I am merely stating the facts.

  4. ah yes, thank you for the correction. I like both stories, I hope someone would make a film of the other version of the story. Hehe

  5. no when the author chooses the story about the tiger, pi says "and so goes with god" that means that god witnessed it too, making the first story true.

  6. Hey there everyone, I came across this little blog entry looking for clarification on the movie myself. After some research and extensive thinking, I believe I now understand what the author of the story was trying to tell us. So I'll give my thoughts here, maybe I'll help someone understand the story better.

    Note: English is my second language, I apologize if my vocabulary isn't that great. I'll try my best to express my thoughts in a clear manner.

    First of all, let's start by saying that both stories are true. However, one of them happens in reality, and the other happens in Pi's mind. How is that possible ? Let's compare between the two stories.

    First, notice the choice of animals in the first story; a Hyena, a Zebra, an Orangutan and
    a Tiger. Why these animals specifically ? What do they represent ?

    -Hyenas don't show any emotion, they are extremely unfriendly and disgusting. They eat dead animals, they never hunt on their own, they steal prey from other animals.

    -Zebras are nice, friendly and they don't hurt or attack humans.

    -Orangutans greatly resemble humans, they are very nice to humans, they show emotion and the are smart.

    -Tigers are fierce, powerful, dominant and intimidating. Yet, they only harm humans when provoked.

    Okay, let's go back to comparing the two stories now. The Hyena was the cook, the Zebra was the sailor and the Orangutan was Pi's own mother. Notice how every animal resembles the person in the second story. Coincidence ? Of course it isn't. This shows us that the choice of animals was made based on people that were in the second story. How is that possible ? Because it was all in Pi's mind. He chose those animals due to the resemblance of the actual people that were there.

    Notice that the only two characters that don't overlap in the two stories are the Tiger and Pi. Why ?

    Pi kept mentioning to the author that the Tiger kept him alive. The Tiger always gave him hope, and whenever he was in doubt, the Tiger kept him going further. Do you notice what he is trying to say here ? The Tiger is a symbol of faith.

    Given that Pi was involved in a shipwreck, then only survived with his mother and two other guys (which means his brother and father are dead), then witnessed brutality and the murder of his own mother in front of him, I believe he has the right to lose his mind and hallucinate. Especially that he is young.

    The second story mentions how Pi killed the cook. But in the scene when the Hyena is killed, it was by the Tiger. This is the only part of the two stories that doesn't overlap. I believe that the Tiger is what is inside of Pi at that moment. It is like the situation unleashed the beast within Pi. Like something made him act this way, the way that he isn't.

    And at the very end of the movie, when Pi asks the author which story he likes better, the author answers him "The one with the Tiger". And notice Pi's reply, "And so goes with God". What does that mean ?

    Remember how he kept saying the Tiger is was kept him alive ?

    God is never physically present with us. He is never "there", but he is always there with us. Inside of us, in our hearts, in our minds. That is what God represents, the hope and faith. God is who kept him alive.

    There was never a Tiger on that boat with Pi. But there was a Tiger with him in his heart and mind all the way till the end. A Tiger that kept supplying him with faith, a Tiger that kept him going, a Tiger that kept him alive.

    The Tiger symbolizes God.

    So in the end, both stories are true. One of them happened in reality, the other one happened in his mind to cope with what was happening.

    I hope you guys understand what I was trying to explain, please let me know what your thoughts on this are :)

  7. You are mostly correct. Shoot, maybe you are right and I am wrong, but I see the tiger as representing something other than God/faith. I believe that the tiger represents the base animal in all of us. Clearly the second version of the story is the reality. Recall that we see the tiger get into the boat during the storm. Pi was animal like in getting into the boat. He wasn't thinking - it was animal like action representing self-preservation.

    Pi doesn't see the tiger for a while thereafter. Initially there is no need for crude animal behavior. They have food and water. But then the Hyena kills the zebra, then the orangutan. That is when the beast in Pi shows itself again: to avenge the death of his mother. And like the cook, Pi/tiger are resourceful: They eat the cook/hyena to survive.

    Pi does not want to admit the truth to the insurance adjusters, so he substitutes the animals for the people. When they don't believe him and ask for the truth, he tells them the truth. They don't like the truth, or sympathize with his shame, so they write down his original version as the truth.

    I don't believe the tiger represents god or faith because Pi is a religious man throughout the story, and he states that the tiger left without looking back. I.e., the animal in him left as soon as it was no longer needed for survival.. He has some regret in this fashion, because the animal in him is what kept him alive. Like a wild animal, he did what he had to do to survive.

    You are correct that, in the end, both stories are true.

    Impressive that English is a second language for you. Never would have known. In any event, I think you hit this pretty square. Brilliant movie.

  8. Angel Monera MartinezMarch 22, 2013 at 7:03 AM

    Hi, I watched the film the other day, and then I decide to read the book (actually I decide to listen the Audiobook :P). In the Audiobook almost everything has an explanation, it gives reason to what he does, what it happen. The tiger, as my understand is that part inside us that keep us alive. The tiger is the survival instinct the animal that we have inside us and that for many people arise in the moment of fear, need, hunger...

    I don't believe the tiger symbolized god. God didn't kill the Chef, he did, the tiger did.

    I don't know.. is what I think :).


    Angel Monera

    (really, get the book, audiobook and read it, listen it, it will give you a much deeper understand of the story, some times too much :S )

  9. Everyone knows. Bananas split and root beer floats.

  10. Incidentally (for what it's worth) Bananas do float in water. Try it yourself or look it up on youtube.

  11. Well i have read many different views of the story and what i must say is that every person has his/her own understanding
    Here's mine -
    The two stories are two ways of narrating a story or like Irfan Khan says in the beginning it is just a story to believe or not in God is your decision.
    If the tiger is Pi then where is Pi ? if every character has a match then even Pi should despite of the fact that he was a human.. According to me if the zebra is the happy Buddhist , the Hyena is the cook, the orangutan is Pi's mother Gita and Richard Parker the Bengal tiger is Pi then Pi is God . It all explain why whether believing or not in God is left as a choice. The japsnese ask Pi for a more believable story or the truth as they say , its because they have difficulty believing in God who helped Pi survive.

    Pi gives two different stories that shows the author giving people including the writer a choice if they want to believe in God or not.

  12. God is within Pi. The Tiger could be the darkness within him.The darkness born from the unjust death of his mother. It's his raw form.Through the adventure, Pi learns to control this darkness. He tames it and at the end of the adventure this past self, this raw self, is cast away. Pi is reborn into a new person. One in the which the spirit of the divine lives in.

  13. Ha ha ha! Could not believe after watching the movie just now that I would find the same question I was asking with an answer! Thanks so much! If not for you I would be wondering for ever! LoL I flunked high school science!! Ha ha ha lol

  14. Thankyou for your most insightful explan

    Thankyou for your most insightful explanation. But didnt the guy say, after the second stoty, that the tiger is Pi himself? I think that is what was said if I remember correctly?

  15. Pi did not get into the boat. He was thrown or knocked in. Just sayin!

  16. Who is to say that a boy didn't survive for 227 days in the Pacific Ocean with an adult bengal tiger.

  17. Loved the Pi Movie. I think mainly when he says 'And so it goes with God' all it means is what you choose to believe, the path you want to think leads to god is up to you. Just like you can choose to believe 1 story of the other. Since just like the story, there's no way of knowing which is true for religions the same goes

  18. Great post. I think you are right about the first thing you say about the tiger, about the tiger being the beast inside him that allowed him to kill the cook. But I don't think the tiger represents god. I think the tiger represents the side of Pi that is capable of taking a human life (the cook). The struggle between the tiger and Pi on the boat (about territory, and exposing the tiger to the storm, etc) represents Pi's attempts to reconcile how he could have killed someone. When he starts getting along with the tiger and then eventually is able to pet the tiger, it represents him gradually being able to forgive himself. Then the tiger leaves into the forest without looking back, indicating he has worked through his issues and become a fairly well adjusted person (eventually able to have a wife, kids, good career, etc.).
    Also I believe that that the second story involving his mother, the cook, and the sailor, was the story that actually happened and that the first story with the animals was actually a coping mechanism to deal with the traumatic event. This, I think is supposed to mirror religion as Pi says to the Canadian writer 'Two stories, both with the same outcome and results (ship crashed, he survived, no one else did), which do you prefer'. Here the outcome represents how humans got here/meaning of life while the two stories represent 1) the somewhat comforting religious explanations and 2) the more brutal scientific explanations. In this way I think Pi says that he and many other choose the religious explanations rather than the scientific ones as they are more reassuring. Lastly I think Pi story does not "prove the existence of God" but instead proves the human need for a God like figure.
    But that's just my opinion, thank you for sharing yours.

  19. However, the bigger question...........do bananas float ? The Japanese
    investigator says no. If a bundle does not float - in the ocean during an intense storm - the story is not true.

  20. I went to the Indian Ocean and tested it myself.