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Themes

Alcohol and cigarettes feature prominently in The Pigman. Drinking alcohol is an escape for John – an escape from school, from responsibility – but it is not a way of defying his parents. His father actually encouraged John to drink alcohol when John was about ten years old. John also smokes a lot and Lorraine has been unsuccessful in her efforts to get him to stop.

Questions About Drugs and Alcohol

  1. Lorraine says that John's father "set a bad example at an age when John was impressionable. I think his father made it seem as though drinking alcoholic beverages was a sign of maturity" (2). Is she correct that this is one reason John drinks so much? Or are there other reasons, too?
  2. What role does alcohol play in the novel, in general? For instance, how would the party in Chapter 13 have been different without alcohol?
  3. Mr. Pignati gives John and Lorraine wine every time they come to his house. Is this an example of him respecting them, treating them like adults? Or is it irresponsible?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

John drinks to escape the realities of his life.

The adults in the novel who give alcohol to minors [John's father; Mr. Pignati; Tony, who sells kids beer (6)] are partially responsible for the minors' alcohol abuse.

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