Bobo the Baboon in The Pigman

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In 'The Pigman' by Paul Zindel, Mr. Pignati's best friend is the dirty, ill-tempered baboon at the zoo, Bobo. In this lesson, we will learn more about Bobo.

Filling a Void

Do you have a person or a pet who is always excited to see you? For Mr. Pignati, Bobo, the baboon, fills that void after Mr. Pignati's wife's death. In The Pigman by Paul Zindel, two teenagers, John and Lorraine, become friends with Mr. Pignati, a lonely widower. Mr. Pignati takes daily walks to the zoo to visit his best friend, Bobo. Let's find out more about Bobo.

Lorraine and John Meet Bobo

What is the most important quality for a friend to have? Lorraine and John are surprised when Mr. Pignati takes them to the zoo to meet his best friend, Bobo, at the zoo. 'Bobo? Come out and say hello!' says Mr. Pignati. Bobo is a smelly, ugly, vicious baboon. Every day, Mr. Pignati takes a walk to the zoo to feed Bobo peanuts. 'And Bobo would show these monstrous teeth that looked like dentures when they don't quite fit, and the beast would grunt and swoon and move its head from side to side.' Mr. Pignati makes a game of throwing peanuts in all directions, some landing out of reach.

As much as Mr. Pignati cares for Bobo, he doesn't shy away from joining along with John and Lorraine to make the 'Uggauggaboo' sounds to agitate Bobo. Perhaps Mr. Pignati thinks that even Bobo needs things to be shaken up from time to time? Before leaving the zoo, Mr. Pignati tells Bobo he will miss him. 'And when Bobo realized he wasn't going to get any more peanuts, you should have seen the expression on his face!'

One of the things that Lorraine and John like the most about Mr. Pignati is that he always looks so happy to see them. Mr. Pignati finds the same thing in Bobo. Bobo may be a nasty baboon, but he is always anxious to see Mr. Pignati and sad to see him leave.

Mr. Pignati Enjoys Spoiling Those He Cares for

Imagine wanting nothing more than to spoil the love of your life. Now imagine, that person is suddenly gone. After his wife's death, Mr. Pignatti searches for something he can love the way he loved Conchetta. Not only does Mr. Pignati spoil Bobo, but he also goes out of his way to do as much as he can for John and Lorraine. 'As a matter of fact, the way the Pigman was treating Lorraine and me you'd have thought he liked us as much as Bobo,' narrates John.

John and Lorraine enjoy other outings with Mr. Pignati, such as a trip to Beekman's department store, but Mr. Pignati always takes care of Bobo first. While at Beekman's, they see three monkeys in the pet department that remind Mr. Pignati of Bobo. 'Bobo… you look just like my little Bobo,' Mr. Pignati said to the monkeys.

Taking Care of Bobo Gives Mr. Pignati a Purpose in Life

Mr. Pignati is not only facing the loss of his beloved wife, he is being forced to face his own mortality. One day, Mr. Pignati becomes especially upset after visiting Bobo. 'Bobo wouldn't eat today…I offered him a chocolate bar, and he just let it drop outside the cage,' explained Mr. Pignati, 'Bobo's getting old….' Mr. Pignati realizes that he is also getting old.

When Mr. Pignati has to be hospitalized after a heart attack, his primary concern was his friend. 'Do you think you could stop by and see Bobo for me?' Mr. Pignati asked Lorraine and John.

'Get him the peanuts in the yellow package--not the red package. He likes the dry-roasted ones better…And half a hot dog. Don't give him the whole hot dog because he never eats all of it.' John doesn't really care that much for Bobo, but Lorraine and John check on him out of respect for Mr. Pignati.

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