Guilt and Blame Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
John: Now Lorraine can blame all the other things on me, but she was the one who picked out the Pigman's phone number. If you ask me, I think he would have died anyway. Maybe we speeded things up a little, but you really can't say we murdered him.
Not murdered him. (3)
John is trying to understand his and Lorraine's role in Mr. Pignati's death. He seems undecided about their degree of responsibility.
[John:] In fact, if Lorraine felt like saying one of us murdered Mr. Pignati, she should have blamed Norton. He's the one who finally caused all the trouble. (5)
If Norton's actions were the final, most immediate cause of Mr. Pignati's final illness and death, does this mean that only Norton is responsible? Is John trying to shift blame away from himself?
[Mr. Pignati:] "Now I want you to write down on the paper I gave you the names of the characters in the order in which you think they were most responsible for the WIFE's death. Just list WIFE, HUSBAND, LOVER, ASSASSIN, AND BOATMAN in the order you think they are the most guilty. […] Because you picked the BOATMAN as being most guilty, that means you're both most interested in MAGIC," he said. (10)
This game functions as a symbol for the questions about responsibility the novel raises. (See "Symbols, Imagery, Allegory.") John's and Lorraine's choice of "magic" as the most important quality forces us to think about how magic functions in the story. Is there a magical quality to their friendship with Mr. Pignati?