Lies and Deceit Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
[Lorraine:] And John lies to his mother and father. He told them one time that he was hearing voices from outer space, and he thought creatures were going to come for him some night, so if they heard any strange noises coming from his room would they please call the police.
"Don't be silly," his mother told him and laughed it off with just the slightest bit of discomfort. His parents don't know quite what to make of him because neither of them has the imagination he has, and in a way they sort of respect it. Actually, I think they're a little frightened of it. (4)
This is another example of John's trying to disturb adults with his lying. Why does his mother laugh it off "with the slightest bit of discomfort"? Undoubtedly, she doesn't believe that creatures from outer space are coming for John, but could it be that she is afraid that he believes it? Or is she just upset that he lies to her all the time?
[Lorraine:] But [John's parents] are just as bad as he is when it comes to lying, and that may be the real reason they can't help John the way they should. From what I've seen of them, they don't seem to know what's true and what isn't true anymore. His father goes around bragging how he phonied up a car insurance claim to get a hundred dollars to replace a piece of aluminum on their new car, which he had really replaced himself. Mrs. Conlan goes to the store and tells the clerk he forgot to give her Green Stamps the last time she was in, and she knows very well she's lying. It's a kind of subconscious, schizophrenic fibbing, if you ask me, and if those parents don't have guilt complexes I don't know who has. I only hope I won't be that kind of adult. (4)
Throughout this novel, the adult world is portrayed as corrupt and dishonest. If adults tell these kinds of lies, how can their children be expected to tell the truth? Lorraine says that those parents must have guilt complexes, but is this observation borne out in the novel? Do John's parents and Lorraine's mother seem to feel guilty?
You have to know how demented Dennis and Norton are to understand that when I told them Angelo Pignati caught on Lorraine was a phony and hung up, they believed it. I could tell them I went alligator hunting in St. Patrick's Cathedral last night, and they'd believe it. I just didn't want them to know Mr. Pignati had invited us over to his house the next day to give us the ten bucks for the L & J Fund. Especially Norton. If he knew about it, he'd try to hustle in on the deal, and he's never stop at ten dollars. (5)
Even though John, before he meets Mr. Pignati, is planning to take advantage of the old man in a very blatant way, he also protects him from Norton. John's thoughts here also raise the question of degree: is John correct when he asserts that a deception involving ten dollars isn't as bad as a deception involving more money?