The Pigman - Wikipedia
Gradually, John learns to trust, respect, and even love Mr. Pignati. In the story, both John and Lorraine keep their relationship with the Pigman a secret. Paul Zindel's first novel, The Pigman, published in New York in by Harper . John and Lorraine end up going over to Mr. Pignati's house every day after and kiss, but this change in their relationship makes both of them uncomfortable, the people he loved and trusted, John and Lorraine, at the center of the chaos. Paul Zindel's book "The Pigman" is a novel about two children, Lorraine and John, and an old man called Mr. Mr. Pignati began to trust Lorraine and John.
John is noted as being handsome by both Lorraine and himself and wants to be an actor. As the reader discovers and Lorraine tells usJohn has compassion deep inside. Lorraine Jensen counters the chapters narrated by John, often amending or adding to John's version of the story of Mr.
Lorraine also has an unsupportive family, as her father left and her mother has never gotten over the long-ago divorce.
Lorraine is sensitive and introspective, berated by her mother because of her weight. Lorraine's mother often asks her to stay home from school to help with housework, so she also struggles with school. She longs for acceptance and companionship, which she finds first with John, and then with Mr. Point of View POV You probably already know that many young adult novels are first person narratives.
This is probably because readers of this genre like to empathize with what the characters experience, and they can relate to the way that young people express themselves. Zindel cleverly uses alternating teenage protagonists, one male and one female, to give the reader two perspectives on the same plot line.
John's chapters are more focused on the action element, while Lorraine's version of what happened acknowledges feelings and what happens in the characters' minds. You might have also heard of the term unreliable narrator. This means that the reader needs to question what the first person narrator says because, for some reason, that narrator cannot be believed or trusted. John beats Norton in retaliation. Pignati returns to find his house ransacked, and is incredibly hurt when he finds out John and Lorraine were responsible for the incident.
The police are called, and John and Lorraine believe they will get arrested, but The Pigman does not press charges. They try to go back into the house and apologize, but the officer tells them Mr. Pignati is crying and that they need to go home.
After going home, Lorraine is beaten by her mother and John's parents say they are getting him therapy, which will never happen. Feeling terrible, the two offer to take Pignati to the zoo to help make up for the destruction of his house. When they arrive at the zoo to visit Bobo the baboonMr. Pignati's favorite animal and buddy, they learn the creature has died. Overcome with grief and the heaviness of the recent events, Mr. Pignati suffers from cardiac arrest and dies, leaving John and Lorraine grieving and reflecting on the fragility of life.
John tells Lorraine to wait outside of the area where he died, fearing that her mother would hit her in punishment for creating the situation. They blame themselves for Pignati's death, and believe that he would have been better off never meeting them in the first place. John and Lorraine write their story down. Themes[ edit ] "Peer pressure" This story goes into the idea of peer pressure on numerous occasions.
First is the phone call Lorraine made to Mr. She did not want to keep the conversation going and felt as if she was not doing the right thing. Her friends kept pressuring her to continue the conversation and so she did.
When she and John later on go to visit him after their scheme of collecting money for charity, Lorraine has the same feeling of guilt. She does not want to take money from this poor old man, and says to John how it is wrong.
Not listening to her at all, he pressures her into taking the money and keeping silent about the truth. Finally, John and Lorraine are pressured into having a party at the house. With peer pressure running high in this story, many of the characters were unable to speak their own opinions and were afraid to stand up against the crowd.
John & Lorraine's Relationship in The Pigman | pdl-inc.info
Whether it is Lorraine afraid to stand up against John, or John afraid to stand up to his friends, the main characters are reluctant in speaking their true emotions. The pressure given to them by a massive audience becomes the reason for the downfall of their great friend, The Pigman.
It begins with The Pigman's loss of his collection of pigs  and his wife's dress. Both these items were very important to him, letting him remember a time of peace and happiness.
When they were both destroyed, he lost a huge part of who he was. The Pigman also loses his best friend, Bobo. His death was the kids losing their dear friend, but also their innocence. The loss of their friend and watching him die was a huge traumatic experience for them, whether they acknowledge it or not.
Losing a friend is a very difficult thing for a person to go through. It becomes even harder when you lose a friend and believe that it is your fault. The amount of terrible and shocking experiences Lorraine and John put The Pigman through were too much for him, especially because of his old age. His last stitch of happiness died along with Bobo, leaving him a shell of his former self. When he finally died, his death was a loss to the kids, but not to himself, because he had been unhappy. Physically both of them have parents John having his mother and father, Lorraine having her motherbut mentally they are not there for them.
John's parents do not care what he does and are very self-centered. Both let him smoke and drink and show him that there will be no repercussions for his actions. This makes John take part in troublesome actions, simply trying to get his parents' attention. While his efforts fail each time, he does not give up, and ironically only rebels in such a harsh manner wishing his parents paid attention to him. Lorraine only lives with her mother, due to her father leaving them a long time ago.
Her mother is not a great parental figure, mocking and ridiculing her daughter constantly throughout the story. Her mother's abusive nature strikes fear into Lorraine.
She knows if she does anything wrong she will be hit as a repercussion. This is shown when Lorraine states, "She came towards me, and I backed away until I was cornered by the wall. Then she raised her arm and slapped me once across the face. She tried to hit me again, but my arm went up and blocked her. Protests against the Vietnam Warthe growth of the Civil Rights and feminist movements, and a vigorous celebration of teenagers and young adults as the new, free generation were set against those who wanted to preserve the status quo and traditional values.
Zindel's book was groundbreaking in its truthful depiction of teenagers who were not respectful to their teachers, whose parents had failed them, and who engaged in actions adults would disapprove of—such as minor vandalism, drinking alcohol, and smoking.
Before the publication of The Pigman, few books for young adults were so open and truthful; instead, books tended to portray an ideal world in which adults wished teens would live.
Although Lorraine and John love their parents, they are open in their criticism of how their parents have failed them, a common complaint of the younger generation during the s and early s. I want to be me. Not a phony in the crowd. John's father, uncomprehending and scornful, insists that John's ambition to be an actor is "a fool's dream world," a comment typical of the older generation of that time. Interestingly, John's brother Kenneth, who is eleven years older, has remained on the older generation's side of the divide: Another feature typical of the younger generation of that time is a pervasive distrust of anyone in authority, such as teachers, police officers, and parents.
Both John and Lorraine have vast areas of their lives their parents know nothing about. Although Lorraine is less scornful of her mother than John is of his parents, she realizes that her mother is too wounded to help her or to understand what she's involved in, and she lies to her mother about what she's up to.
John is more bitterly disappointed by his parents, and shows it by blatant disobedience and backtalk. When the police show up after Mr. Pignati's heart attack, John calls them "snotty" and "dumb," and both he and Lorraine lie to the police about being Mr.
He also says, after they leave, "They were probably anxious to get along on the rounds of the local bars and collect their graft for the week. Teen smoking, drinking, and drug use become prevalent in the s, when knowledge of the ill effects of drugs is still not widespread, and when a widespread sense of experimentation and rebellion is part of popular culture.
Teen smoking and drinking have increased since the s, and every day, about 3, young people begin smoking. Nearly 1, of that number 1 in 3 will eventually die as a result of smoking-related disease. Use of cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs is more common among teens who do not feel emotionally connected to their parents.
Not everyone can afford a telephone, and instead of using touch-tones, phones use a rotary dial system. Phone numbers have two letters and five numbers, like "Sa," the number for the hospital Mr.
The two letters are an abbreviation of the name of the "exchange," usually a neighborhood. Faxes, personal computers, and the Internet are unknown. Phone companies have dropped the letter-and- number system in favor of all-numeric phone numbers, and the old rotary phones are considered obsolete; many telephone services cannot be accessed unless the caller has a touch-tone phone. The number of people needing phone numbers has continued to increase, so that every year, phone companies must create new area codes.
In addition, cellular phones, fax machines, pagers, and the Internet allow people to be constantly connected to each other, even if they are on the other side of the world. In the s, AIDS is unknown, and people don't worry about many of the consequences of sexual activity.
Rates of teen pregnancy, divorce, and single-parent families are higher than those of earlier decades, and people regard these issues as shameful. AIDS has forced many people to reassess their sexual activity and to take precautions against this and other diseases. However, divorce rates continue to increase, and teen pregnancies and single-parent families are now common. Attitudes toward divorce, teen pregnancy, and single parenting have changed, so that many people now regard these issues as painful, but without the sense of shame and blame that was still prevalent in the s.
The Vietnam War rages throughout the s and early s, sparking widespread anti-war protests in the United States. Throughout the war, in which 3 million Americans serve, 58, Americans die, 1, are declared missing, andare wounded.
The United States has been involved in several smaller wars since the s, most notably the Gulf War in the Middle Eastbut none have incited such widespread commentary and rebellion as the Vietnam War has. It's interesting that Zindel chose not to mention any of the political and social events, such as widespread protests, riots, and rallies, as well as the Vietnam War, which were taking place at the time that he wrote the book.
Perhaps he did this in order to avoid making the book seem dated; more likely, he chose to do this because it's true to life. Many teenagers are unaware of political and social events, or only peripherally affected. For many teens, life at school, interactions with parents, and activities with friends take center stage in their lives. Critical Overview The Pigman is widely acknowledged as a turning point in young adult literature. According to Jack Davis Forman in Presenting Paul Zindel, Zindel's "commitment to write realistically about the concerns of teenagers" set his books apart from "the previous genre of teen fiction calcified in the gender and age stereotypes of the s.
According to Forman, a reviewer in Horn Book called The Pigman "a now book," and commented that few books were "as cruelly truthful about the human condition. Forman also quoted Publishers Weekly reviewer Lavinia Russ, who remarked on her excitement at discovering such a skilled new writer by saying she felt "like the watcher of the skies when a new planet swam into its ken.
They build their own cages, we could almost hear the Pigman whisper, as he took his children with him.
- The Pigman
- Learn more
- John and Lorraine
Criticism Kelly Winters Winters is a freelance writer and has written for a wide variety of educational publishers. In this essay, she considers themes of aging and death in Paul Zindel's The Pigman. Throughout The Pigman, all of the characters reveal their attitudes toward aging and, particularly, death. Death is frequently mentioned throughout the story, and one of the main themes of the book is how awareness of death and its finality eventually leads John and Lorraine to mature and take responsibility for their lives.
This is not a lesson they could have learned from their families, or at school.
As the book shows, most of the adults they encounter are not supportive, are unhelpful, and are too caught up in their own problems to help the teenagers sort out the answers to the deep questions they carry in their hearts.
It takes the Pigman's life, and his death, to make them realize that they need to change their attitudes and their behavior toward both life and death. Jensen, who ironically works as a private nurse for elderly and terminally ill people, has a callous attitude towards death. She steals things from her patients, calls them names like "old fossil," and is unmoved by their death, as shown by one of her conversations with Lorraine.
Lorraine, who is far more sensitive, asks about the patient, "Did he die? I told his daughter two days ago he wasn't going to last the week.
Put some coffee water on. Jensen is so wrapped up in her need for money that even a patient's death becomes a financial opportunity to look forward to. She gloats over the fact that the undertaker gives her ten dollars for every customer she refers to him, and she notes that she may switch to referring patients' families to another funeral home "when the next one croaks," because she's heard that they will give twenty dollars for the same favor.
John's father developed liver disease from excessive drinking, and although he quit drinking, his diagnosis evidently didn't make him reflect very deeply about his life. He lives a circumscribed, joyless, almost mechanical life; his mood is determined by how many lots he sells in a day, and he considers anything other than work to be "a waste of time.
Conlan is aware that eventually, all this "screaming and barking" and accumulated stress of his job will probably kill him, and he uses the threat of his own death as leverage to try and get John to agree to take over his business: I can't take the strain much longer.
Conlan also reminds John, "Your mother isn't going to be around forever either, you know. When she's dead, you're going to wish to God you'd been nicer to her. Conlan never mentions death, just as she never mentions anything "unpleasant. Whenever anything unpleasant arises, she either leaves the room, begins cleaning, or offers falsely cheery distractions, such as asking "Do you both want whipped cream and nuts on your strawberry whirl?
Lorraine is more sensitive than either her mother or John about sickness, aging, and death. She tries to get John to stop smoking, she's bothered by her mother's crass attitudes towards the patients, and she is sympathetic to the situation of a teacher at her school whose aging and ill mother lives in the teacher's living room.
As the story progresses, she notes morbid "omens" that, in hindsight, seem to indicate that something bad was going to happen, but also comments that she didn't see their meaning at the time they occurred. Unlike John, she accepts full responsibility for Mr. When Lorraine hears that Mr. Pignati's wife is dead, she realizes for the first time what a loss it must have been for him. All the things they shared—interests, activities, eating meals together, conversation—are gone.
Of all the characters in the book, she's the only one who has any comprehension of the depth of his loss. Despite the fact that Mr. Pignati can't even admit that his wife is dead, he is actually the only person in the book who is really confronting the depth of sadness and grief that death elicits in those left behind.
He tries as hard as he can to believe that she's really only visiting his sister in California, not gone forever, because the pain of her loss is so great. Through his friendship with John and Lorraine, however, he comes to feel safe enough to begin dealing with his loss, and invites them to celebrate her personality and enjoyment in life by shopping for delicacies and visiting the zoo, things she loved. This enjoyment of life is the gift that he gives John and Lorraine—a gift they never received from their own families.
When Bobo the baboon dies, the zoo attendant who has looked after him has the same attitude toward his death that Mrs. Jensen has toward her patients. He says, "Can't say I feel particularly sorry about it because that baboon had the nastiest disposition around here. Pignati loved the baboon and that his death is a devastating loss, just as Mrs. Jensen is oblivious to the fact that her patients' families may love them and grieve them deeply.
John, Lorraine, and some of the other kids from school like to hang out at the local cemetery, which they see mainly as a quiet place where they can drink and smoke in peace, since adults rarely go there. They reflect briefly on the people who are buried there, but it's in a distant, almost amused way—they use the presence of the dead as a sort of prop to scare each other, but they never think that someday, they, too, will be buried there. John lies on the grass and imagines that a buried corpse will stick its hands up through the earth and grab him, but then reflects that he would actually love to see a ghost, because he has no faith that there's any sort of life after this one, which is dreary enough.
He writes, "I'm looking for anything to prove that when I drop dead there's a chance I'll be doing something a little more exciting than decaying. Jensen's patients, or, later in the book, by Mr. And he doesn't reflect on what death really means—that life is fundamentally short, eventually it will end, and that ultimately, only he is responsible for what he does with his life.
John is aware that his father was once ill with liver disease and that he will probably die at a relatively young age because of the stress of his job, but he still half-jokes about it, not considering how the loss may affect him: They gather around this circle and bellow out bids all day long …" He is cynical about his parents' death and is unmoved when his father mentions that his mother will die someday, because death is not yet real to him.
He responds, "Oh Dad, can't you see all I want to do is be individualistic? John has seen dead people before, when he attended funerals of distant relatives. Because he is so alienated from his family, the deaths didn't mean much to him, and he was unmoved at the funerals, where even seeing the dead people didn't bother him. He viewed them as if they were large stuffed dolls, and said, "So many things to look at.
The Pigman Character Analysis | pdl-inc.info
Anything to get away from what was really happening. When John finds a pamphlet on funeral planning while snooping around Mr. Pignati's house, death starts becoming more real, and this proximity gives him "the creeps.
They may learn about literature, for example, but, he notes, "I don't think there's a single kid in that whole joint who would know what to do if somebody dropped dead. Pignati has his first heart attack, and he and Lorraine are stunned.
John does know what to do—he calls the police—but emotionally, both John and Lorraine are stunned, frightened, and angry, and for the rest of the book, they're desperately trying to make sense of their pain, or escape from it.