A Day No Pigs Would Die
by Robert Newton Peck
Analysis: What's Up With the Title?
A Day No Pigs Would Die. A little creepy, maybe. But it also sounds hopeful, don't you think? If you were to pick up this book based only on the title, you might think it contained a promise of life, an escape from death—and what could be better than that? As you meet Pinky and get into the story, the title might even make you expect a happy ending, one in which Pinky's life is spared and everyone ends up skipping around in transports of joy.
Well, don't hold your breath.
Soon enough, we learn that Pinky is destined to die, and the "promise" of the title turns out to be deeper and more complex than we might have thought.
More Than Words
Let's take a look at the moment where Rob actually speaks the words of the title. It's the day he buries his father, and he says:
There would be no work on this day. A day no pigs would die. (15.30)
Hmmm. So it's not so hopeful after all. Before this day, Papa was butchering pigs for a living, and after this day, Rob will have to do the same. So pigs don't die on the day in question, sure; but their brief reprieve is the direct result of another death—the death of Rob's Papa.
The title, then, reaffirms one of the central ideas of the book: that life and death are interconnected and interdependent—you just can't have one without the other. Deep stuff, huh?