The Pigman Summary

Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby
The Pigman, a novel by Paul Zindel, shows us through the lives of John, Lorraine, and Mr. Pignati, that life is both fragile and precious, and that in many ways, memories are as valued as old friends.

The Pigman

In The Pigman, a young adult novel by Paul Zindel, two teenagers find out that growing up doesn't always mean growing older without pain. They befriend an old man, Mr. Pignati, better known as the Pigman, and grow close to him. However, because of bad decisions and the march of time, their friend is taken away from them before they can truly appreciate all that he had done to make them into the people they become.

A Prank

When you were a kid, chances are you did something that could qualify as a stupid prank. Maybe you loosened the tops of salt and pepper shakers or perhaps replaced someone's drink with something rather disgusting. For John and Lorraine, their prank is to call random people on the telephone and try to convince them to donate money to a nonexistent charity.

Their only problem was that when they call Mr. Pignati, he keeps on talking. Ultimately, the two meet the man and start to see him less as an odd old man and more as a trusted figure. Considering that both of them come from homes that are far from healthy, with John's parents largely ignoring him and Lorraine's stressed out mother verbally abusing her, this is a welcome change.

Growing Together

The growing friendship does all three characters a great deal of good. Ultimately, the walls break down - Mr. Pignati admits that his wife is dead, thereby informing the reader that this old man is very lonely. Meanwhile, John and Lorraine admit that there was never a charity, but grow closer to the man. Mr. Pignati teaches them life lessons along the way, from how to be good friends to how to remember random facts. However, Mr. Pignati is in poor health, and ultimately he has a heart attack and ends up in the hospital.

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