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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Analysis

Literary Devices in The Pigman

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The monkeys, at the zoo, of course, are in literal cages. But nearly every character is in a metaphorical cage. John feels trapped by his father's expectation that John will become a businessman li...

Setting

Although John and Lorraine make a trip to Manhattan with Mr. Pignati, the rest of the action takes place on Staten Island, the southern-most of New York City's five boroughs. (Incidentally, Paul Zi...

Narrator Point of View

The point of view in this novel is really interesting; John and Lorraine narrate alternate chapters and we get both of their perspectives. We also see each of the main characters described through...

Genre

Like all works of literary fiction, The Pigman focuses on style, psychological depth, and character. The three major characters have psychological depth – they have conflicts and contradictio...

Tone

The tone of this novel is unstable, shifting with the narrator and the events being narrated. John's tone is often humorous, especially when he relates one of his misdemeanors:Did you ever hear a h...

Writing Style

The style throughout is carried out with simple sentences that seem like they could have been part of a conversation. John writes:Now Lorraine can blame all the other things on me, but she was the...

What's Up With the Title?

What, or who, exactly, is the Pigman? Does it mean "a swineherd" (someone who herds pigs) as the dictionary states? Or a 2008 low-budget horror film? (It's not related to the book, by the way.) We...

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 t...

Tough-o-Meter

The Pigman is a relatively short, easy read. There's hardly any tough vocabulary. It's the questions it asks that grab you and make you think, such as "Are John and Lorraine responsible for Mr. Pig...

Plot Analysis

John and Lorraine become friends with Mr. Pignati.This initial situation takes awhile to set up, five chapters, in fact. They think his smile, his pig collection, and his messy house are a little w...

Trivia

Lorraine and John were based on teenagers Paul Zindel knew; Lorraine's mother was based, to some extent, on his own mother (!!!) and Mr. Pignati was based on a grandfatherly Italian-American man, N...

Steaminess Rating

None

Allusions

Johnny Tremain, by Esther Forbes (4): This classic novel, first published in 1943, details the experiences of a teenaged boy during the Revolutionary War. This novel is featured in John's especiall...
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