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The Pigman

The Pigman


by Paul Zindel

John Conlan Timeline and Summary

  • John sits in the high-school library with Lorraine, writing a "memorial epic" about their friendship with Mr. Pignati; the entire book is memory.
  • John meets Lorraine on the school bus.
  • John puts glue in the keyhole of the lock that his father has put on the Conlan family phone.
  • With Lorraine, Dennis, and Norton, John makes prank phone calls to strangers.
  • He goes to Mr. Pignati's house with Lorraine to collect the $10 Mr. Pignati has pledged to their fictitious charity, "the L and J Fund." He asks Mr. Pignati to "make it out to cash" (5).
  • Over Lorraine's objections, he buys beer and cigarettes with the money.
  • He convinces Lorraine that they should go to the zoo with Mr. Pignati the next day. They go, and "meet" Bobo. John makes noises like a gorilla, and Mr. Pignati and some large apes join in.
  • At dinner, John has an argument with his father about his desire to become an actor. His father thinks that John should have a business career.
  • Later that night, he and Lorraine meet at Mr. Pignati's house. Mr. Pignati tells them to look around and make themselves at home. John finds the bill for Conchetta Pignati's funeral, and tells Lorraine that she is dead.
  • With Lorraine and Mr. Pignati, John goes to Beekman's department store in Manhattan. Like Lorraine, he enjoys receiving gifts from Mr. Pignati, especially a pair of roller-skates, which he wears out of the store, convincing Lorraine to do the same.
  • John meets Norton for a beer at Moravian Cemetery. Norton threatens to steal from Mr. Pignati, and John gets angry. He writes, "I knew I'd kill Norton if he tried to hurt the old man" (9).
  • Feeling guilty for having lied to Mr. Pignati about being charity workers, he and Lorraine tell Mr. Pignati the truth, that they are high-school students. Mr. Pignati tells them that Conchetta is dead.
  • They play the husband-wife-lover-boatman-assassin psychological game, and both John and Lorraine say that the boatman is most responsible for the wife's death, which means, Mr. Pignati, says that magic is most important to them.
  • John puts on his roller-skates, and soon they are all playing tag. John starts up the stairs, and Mr. Pignati, following him, has a heart attack.
  • John and Lorraine tell the police that they are Mr. Pignati's children.
  • They visit him in the hospital, and Mr. Pignati says they can go to his house in his absence.
  • John and Lorraine dress up in Mr. and Mrs. P.'s clothes, and John kisses Lorraine. Then they have a romantic dinner.
  • A few days later, John decides to have a party at Mr. Pignati's house.
  • When the party gets wild, Norton appears and tries to steal Mr. Pignati's electronic equipment. John tries to prevent him from taking anything, but Norton punches him in the stomach and he falls down because of his roller-skates.
  • John sees Norton breaking the pigs, looking for money.
  • When Mr. Pignati arrives home unexpectedly, John is horrified and passes out.
  • He and Lorraine meet the next day, and call Mr. Pignati to apologize. They meet him at the zoo.
  • At the zoo, after Mr. Pignati dies of a second heart attack, John reflects that he and Lorraine will have to take responsibility for their actions.
  • John sits in the high-school library with Lorraine, writing a "memorial epic" about their friendship with Mr. Pignati; the entire book is memory.