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The Pigman

The Pigman

by Paul Zindel

Lies and Deceit Theme

Every single character in The Pigman lies or deceives others at some point. John is a chronic liar, especially to his teachers and parents; Lorraine regularly lies to her mother; Mr. Pignati lies about his wife being in California; and Norton and Dennis are thieves. What is the point of all this lying? Can lying serve as a form of self-protection or self-preservation? If so, is it always wrong? Why do these characters lie so much? What does this imply about the possibility of honest communication?

Questions About Lies and Deceit

  1. Lorraine, in particular, points out several times that her mother and John's parents are dishonest. She implies that John's chronic lying occurs, at least in part, because of the poor role models his parents provide (4). Do you agree with her?
  2. Does John deceive himself, as well as others?
  3. Lorraine reflects: "Perhaps John had been right when he said we should've forgotten the whole thing—never mentioned it. Maybe there are some lies you should never admit to" (10). Is she correct?

Chew on This

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

Considering their role models, John's and Lorraine's habitual lying is not surprising.

Deception, for John, functions as a coping mechanism, a buffer between himself and the harsh realities of the world.

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