Study Guide

The Pigman Mortality

By Paul Zindel


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 tomb in the cemetery, where John thinks about the bodies underneath them. Mr. Pignati is so distraught at his wife's death that he cannot even admit that she is dead, but the thought of his own death doesn't seem to bother him. Lorraine doesn't tell us much about how she feels about death, but John has a morbid imagination and tells us several times how the thought of death disturbs him. When Mr. Pignati dies, John and Lorraine's grief forces them to grow up and take responsibility for their actions.

Questions About Mortality

  1. Do John and Lorraine learn anything from Mr. Pignati's death? If so, what?
  2. Why is Lorraine's mother so callous about the suffering and deaths of her patients?
  3. Does Bobo's death function symbolically? How?
  4. Twice, John says that he fears his father's death. How does this complicate John's feelings towards his father?

Chew on This

The harsh reality of Mr. Pignati's death forces John and Lorraine to mature and take responsibility for their actions.