by Paul Zindel
Lorraine Jenson, a high school sophomore, is sensitive, compassionate and very skillful at observing and interpreting others. For instance, she tells us: "John has compassion deep inside of him, which is the real reason we got involved with the Pigman" (2). She wants to be a writer, and is especially interested in psychology. Her observations and judgments are usually spot on.
Lorraine is cautious, and attempts, unsuccessfully, to put the brakes on John's wilder schemes; most notably, she tells John that he should not have a party in Mr. Pignati's house. (Good call, Lorraine.) However, when John ignores her and continues to plan the party, she goes along.
She also has a mystical, superstitious side, often interpreting unusual occurrences as omens. She tells us that John's eyes remind her of: "a description of a gigantic Egyptian eye that was found in one of the pyramids I read about in a book on black magic" (2). She loves animals, and knows how to communicate with them: "I know just how the minds of animals work—just the kinds of games they like to play" (6). At the zoo, she is annoyed that the attendant dumps the fish into the sea lion pool, instead of making feeding time into a game.
Like John, she is an inventive liar. Recounting her conversation with Mr. Pignati during the keep-a-stranger-on-the-one-phone-as-long-as-possible game, Lorraine effortlessly makes up lie after lie. She frequently tells her mother that she is studying at a friend's house, when she is at Mr. Pignati's house with John. Although, to be fair to Lorraine, if she didn't lie, her mother would never let her go anywhere.
Lorraine's shyness and fragile self-confidence are not helped by her mother's constant harsh criticisms, such as: "You're not a pretty girl, Lorraine" (2). According to John:
The way her old lady talks you'd think Lorraine needed internal plastic surgery and seventeen body braces, but if you ask me, all she needs is a little confidence. (3)
Lorraine is afraid of her mother, who, in addition to frequent verbal abuse, often slaps her. Poor Lorraine tells us that she often cries herself to sleep (8). However, Lorraine he has compassion for her mother, and tries to understand her. Lorraine wants to be a writer, a profession well-suited to her sensitive, analytical nature.