The story begins with a flashback of Pi's life during his childhood. The story continues with his voyage at sea and subsequently, his shipwreck. In between chapters are small scenes of him in the future with his child. After he is rescued (there is much debate about this), the animals on the boat seem to represent human figures (orangutan is his mother, zebra is the sailor, hyena symbolizes greed and evil). The novel ends with Pi recounting his story to his resucers in Japan.