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Conflict in The Pigman

Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby
Conflict abounds in 'The Pigman', even if very little of it happens between the three primary characters. That said, these characters still have plenty of conflict with the rest of the world. That's what we'll be looking at in this lesson.

Conflict in The Pigman

In The Pigman by Paul Zindel, there is a great deal of conflict between the three main characters and others in the story. John and Lorraine suffer from abysmal relationships with their parents, while Mr. Pignati suffers from a very different type of conflict. In this lesson, we will take a look at many of the root conflicts that create the plot of The Pigman.

Against Parents and Friends

One of the most important conflicts that even makes The Pigman possible is the fact that John and Lorraine bond over the conflict that each has with their parents. John's parents are clearly checked out. When John was younger, his dad used to show off how much the then ten year old boy could drink. Now, the father is such a non-element in John's life that he refers to him as 'Bore'. Meanwhile, Lorraine's mother is overly strict, being simply abusive at some points. It is not until the end of the book that we learn fully why she is this way towards Lorraine.

Meanwhile, both experience conflict towards their other friends. This is most clear at the party, where the friends come in and largely destroy Mr. Pignati's house. The conflict is most obvious when John gets into a fight after a guest has destroyed Mr. Pignati's prized possession, a collection of fragile pig figurines.

Against Accidents

In many ways, one of the most vital conflicts that occurs in the book is against accidents. It is very unlikely that the book would have ended the way it did if not for the destruction of the pig figurines and Mrs. Pignati's dress. Likewise, the carelessness shown by the zoo attendant in describing the death of Bobo may not have caused the second heart attack of Mr. Pignati, but it surely did little to prevent it.

Against Time

The three main characters are also in a conflict against time. Mr. Pignati feels this most acutely, as he has already lost so much to time, from his wife to his friends to his past. The others feel this as well, however, as they are required to come up with excuses, especially Lorraine, to make the time to see everyone.

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