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The Pigman's Lorraine Jensen: Character Description & Quotes

Instructor: Kerry Gray

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

Lorraine Jensen, one of the protagonists of Paul Zindel's novel, 'The Pigman', is just beginning to find out who she is as we are introduced to her in the book. In this lesson, we'll analyze her character and discover more about her through some quotes from the book.

Adolescent Confusion

Imagine being 15 years old. What are the things you still need to learn to be successful? Who do you turn to when things seem confusing? Lorraine Jensen knows one thing for sure, she doesn't want to be like her mother. Let's find out more about Lorraine Jensen from Paul Zindel's The Pigman.

Lorraine is Uncomfortable in Her Own Skin

What are the parts of your personality that that get in your way? Lorraine Jensen is a considerate, sensitive future writer who has one fatal flaw. She lacks self-confidence because of the verbal and physical abuse she has endured at the hands of her over-worked, unhappy mother. When Lorraine first meets John, her good-looking, trouble-making best friend, Lorraine assumes that he is making fun of her. '…I've got to admit that when anyone looks at me I'm sure they're noticing how awful my hair is or I'm too fat or my dress is funny. So I did think John was laughing at me, and it made me feel terrible…' Soon, Lorraine realizes that John is just a 'lunatic' and they become good friends.

Lorraine has a great deal of compassion for other people. She also believes in omens which seem to indicate that getting involved with Mr. Pignati is a bad idea. The first encounter with Mr. Pignati is a prank phone call during which Lorraine pretends to be raising money for charity. When Mr. Pignati invites them over to his house to make his donation, Lorraine knows it is wrong to accept his money, but the combination of her need to escape from her mother's home paired with John's power of persuasion proves to be too much for her. John recognizes the power he has over her when he says, '… all I have to do is push her a little further and I'll get what I want.' By convincing Lorraine that the man is lonely and will benefit from their company, John is able to persuade Lorraine to go to Mr. Pignati's house for the first time.

Lorraine Does Not Want to End Up Like Her Mother

Imagine growing up without any role models. Lorraine knows she doesn't want to be like her mother, but what else is there? With Mr. Pignati, Lorraine is able to escape her mother and enjoy a glass of wine. He also enables her to view adulthood differently. Lorraine's mother never smiles or has fun. She's always worried about money and their diet consists mainly of canned soup that her mother steals from her terminally ill patients. Mr. Pignati on the other hand is always smiling and welcoming. He lavishes John and Lorraine with gifts and introduces them to exotic foods. 'Good food is supposed to produce good conversation, I've heard. I guess it's no wonder my mother and I never had an interesting conversation when all we eat is canned soup, chop suey, and instant coffee,' muses Lorraine.

Lorraine is torn between feeling like they are taking advantage of Mr. Pignati and the desire to throw caution to the wind and enjoy life.

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