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The Pigman

The Pigman

by Paul Zindel

The Pigman Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Guilt and Blame

Who is responsible for Mr. Pignati's death? Lorraine blames John, and, though John feels guilty, he says that Mr. Pignati would have died anyway. This novel asks us to think about who is ultimately...

Lies and Deceit

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 a...

Mortality

Death is everywhere in The Pigman. Mr. Pignati dies; his wife is dead; Bobo dies; Lorraine's mother tends dying patients; John fears that his father will die soon; John and Lorraine drink above a t...

Family

In The Pigman we see two badly dysfunctional families and the temporary happy "family" of Lorraine, John, and Mr. Pignati. What is a family? How do family relationships break down? Why are parents...

Home

In The Pigman, the theme of "Home" is closely related to "Family." What is a home? John and Lorraine clearly don't feel "at home" in their actual homes, or – before they meet Mr. Pignati R...

Old Age

Poor Mr. Pignati. He loves to enjoy life, drink wine, tell jokes, and eat gourmet food. And yet he is very lonely. How can this happen? John reflects on how wrong it is that older people (Mr. Pigna...

Youth

The Pigman's two main characters are fifteen years old. At times, they seem older and at times they seem like typical teenagers trying out roles and identities. We get a tantalizing glimpse into Lo...

Drugs and Alcohol

Alcohol and cigarettes feature prominently in The Pigman. Drinking alcohol is an escape for John – an escape from school, from responsibility – but it is not a way of defying his parent...

Versions of Reality

The two narrators in The Pigman provide different perspectives on the events they relate. Each one says the other distorts reality, and doesn't tell the story right. Is one version more "true"? Or...

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