Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Quotes

Quote #1

[John:] I think she [his English teacher] really goes for me the way she always laughs a little when she talks to me and says I'm such a card. A card she calls me, which sounds ridiculous coming out of the mouth of an old-maid English teacher who's practically fifty years old. I really hate it when a teacher has to show that she isn't behind the times by using some expression which sounds to up-to-date you know for sure she's behind the times. Besides card really isn't up-to-date anymore, which makes it even more annoying. In fact, the thing Lorraine and I liked best about the Pigman was that he didn't go around saying we were cards or jazzy or cool or hip. He said we were delightful, and if there's one way to show how much you're not trying to make believe you're not behind the times, it's to go around saying people are delightful. (2)

We've mentioned how the adults in this novel, except Mr. Pignati, are absent, clueless, corrupt, dishonest, cruel, or all of the above. But this English teacher seems to be an exception: is she flirting with John? It sure looks like it. Interesting, too, how John's definition of old age is "practically fifty" – is 48 or so really so old? This is the only passage that contains cultural references, such as slang, indicating that the novel takes place in the late 1960s, when it was written.

Quote #2

[Lorraine:] He sounded like such a nice old man, but terribly lonely. He was just dying to talk. (4)

Mr. Pignati's loneliness is apparent the very first time Lorraine, pretending to be a charity worker collecting money, talks to him on the phone. Poor Mr. Pignati just wants someone with whom to talk and tell jokes.

Quote #3

[John:] I didn't want anyone really to take advantage of the old man. Some people might think that's what I was doing, but not the way Norton would have. (5)

This sure seems like another instance where John is trying, successfully, to convince himself that taking money from an old man under a false pretext is not taking advantage of him. Well, what would you call it, John?

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