The Pigman by Paul Zindel
The major theme in this book is guilt and it is played out
between the main characters who are Lorraine (a high school
sophomore, a friend of John), John (a high school sophomore
assigned to a project with Lorraine) and Mr. Pignati (an
old lonely man who lives in Lorraine's neighborhood).
The first time the characters of the book experience guilt
is when John and Lorraine were upset for lying and taking
the money from Mr. Pignati. To compensate for this
feeling, they agree to go to the zoo with him. This is a
very important part of the book because if they had not
gone to the zoo with Mr. Pignati, they wouldn't have gotten
to know him and would not have written their story.
Another time when John feels guilt is when his father says,
"The business can be half yours, and you know it. I can't
take the strain much longer." John stated that "Every time
he says that I feel a little sick to my stomach because I
know it is true. He's almost 60 years old and not going to
be around much longer." In this part of the story John
feels guilty because he thinks his dad is going to die soon
and he has been mean to him for a long time.
Lorraine also feels guilty for letting Mr. Pignati buy her
and John all the gifts because she had been lying to him
about her identity. Here is an example from the book to
show this.. When I came out, John was yelling "Hurry up!" I
asked what for and he replied, "Mr. Pignati is going to buy
us roller skates." Lorraine answered, "Oh no he isn't!
He's spent enough money on us!" This showed guilt and some
compassion because Lorraine didn't want Mr. Pignati to
spend all the money on them.
Another incident that happened which caused Lorraine and
John to feel guilt was when they encouraged Mr. Pignati to
put on roller-skates. They felt that it was because of them
that he fell down the stairs and had a heart attack. This
was an important part because Mr. Pignati almost died from
the heart attack and Lorraine felt as if it were her and
Throughout the story, events that created feelings of guilt
within the characters happened frequently. John and
Lorraine felt guilty for a lot of things they did to the "
Pigman" as well as to other people, as they were always
doing something wrong or causing trouble. Guilt is
something everyone feels and this book had some very good
examples of it.
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