The Pigman Chapter 4 Summary

Instructor: Kerry Gray

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

In this lesson, we summarize the events of chapter four of ''The Pigman'' by Paul Zindel. In this chapter, Lorraine initiates contact with Mr. Pignati for the first time.

Telephone Marathons

At this point in the story, we have learned that John, the good-looking, trouble-making, future actor and Lorraine, the sensitive, insecure, future writer meet at least twice a week with their acquaintances, Dennis and Norton, to make prank phone calls. Their favorite game is a telephone marathon in which they try to get a stranger to talk for as long as possible. This story is narrated by John and Lorraine as a memoir for the Pigman. For some reason, John and Lorraine feel guilty about his death. In chapter four of The Pigman by Paul Zindel, Lorraine makes contact with the Pigman for the first time.

Cheating at Telephone Games

Why do you think John described Dennis and Norton as amoebae? Lorraine offers her opinion of their companions. First of all, Norton and John hate each other, so it is unclear why they spend time together. Norton has been a social outcast ever since his picture appeared in the newspaper during his freshman year of high school for shoplifting marshmallows from the grocery store. He is also highly competitive.

After Dennis sets the telephone marathon record at two hours and twenty-six minutes, Norton begins to cheat when picking names from the phone book. Lorraine ignores it because no one ever talks to Norton for long, but on one particular day, Lorraine decides to cheat as well. She intentionally picks Mr. Angelo Pignati's name out of the phone book because he lives close to her, and she knows she can engage him in a conversation about a local civic center. Lorraine is pretty sure John knows she cheated.

The Phone Call

When Lorraine calls Mr. Pignati, the Pigman, she pretends to be fundraising for a local charity. How do you respond when an unknown charity calls you? At first, Pignati assumes she wants to speak to his wife and tries to hang up, but Lorraine pushes on. After a short burst of uncontrolled laughter, Lorraine regains her composure, claiming that a coworker has told her a joke. She redirects the conversation back to her charity, the 'L & J Fund' and asks for a donation.

Mr. Pignati explains that his wife is out of town visiting his sister in California. Then, he tells Lorraine a joke. Lorraine feels bad for Mr. Pignati, thinking he seems lonely. Dennis and Norton have lost interest and left the room. John keeps listening in on the call with a look in his eyes that tells Lorraine that he is up to something.

John's Prevarications

Lorraine is a much more empathetic character than John. As Mr. Pignati starts another joke, Lorraine is distracted as she considers John's prevarications, or lies, and their influence on her. She recognizes that John gets so caught up in his own lies that he actually starts to believe them. She thinks it compensates for his boring life, or that it may be because his parents also lie about things. Lorraine is so distracted by her thoughts that she misses Mr. Pignati's punch line.

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