by Paul Zindel
Analysis: What's Up With the Ending?
The ending is none too cheerful. Mr. Pignati dies on the floor of the monkey house at the zoo. Lorraine blames John and herself for his death, yelling "We murdered him!" John says that he "wanted to yell at her, tell her [Mr. Pignati] had no business fooling around with kids. […] When you grow up, you're not supposed to go back. Trespassing—that's what he had done" (15). Why does John think this trespassing – spending time with kids and acting young – was wrong?
A few pages later, John reflects that he and Lorraine had trespassed, too, "and we were being punished for it. Mr. Pignati had paid with his life. But when he died something in us had died as well" (15). Again, this notion of trespassing. What does John mean?
After this, he writes: "There was no one else to blame anymore. […] Our life would be what we made of it—nothing more, nothing less" (15). What is the significance of this quotation? Does it mean that John and Lorraine are growing up, learning to take responsibility for their actions?
Consider the final, haunting sentences of the novel: "Baboons. Baboons. They build their own cages, we could almost hear the Pigman whisper, as he took his children with him" (15). Who are the children? The baboons? But only one, Bobo, has died. What else could "his children" refer to?