Why Was The Pigman Banned?

Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby
Although teachers and librarians frequently point to its literary merits, 'The Pigman' is often one of the most targeted books for ban lists. This lesson will tell take a closer look as to why it was banned.

Why Ban The Pigman?

The Pigman has remained one of the most banned books in libraries and classrooms across the country. Despite being widely considered one of the best works of young adult literature of the past half century, every year a new cohort of parents and community leaders attempt to see it removed from the curriculum. While it is impossible to be able to speculate on the motivations of every parent and group that wants to see the book removed, it is possible to draw a few broad conclusions as to what material within the text is considered especially objectionable.

Circumstances and Places of Banning

As we'll see in a few moments, The Pigman covers a number of rather controversial issues that a number of parents would rather not their teenagers read about. As such, it was met with a considerable amount of opposition. This is especially true in more conservative parts of the country, such as Texas or Missouri. Often, parents voiced the concern that The Pigman was taught while other books are not.

Alcohol and Partying

One of the high points of the drama in The Pigman comes when John and Lorraine throw a party at Mr. Pignati's house. They do not have his permission to do so, and the party ends up becoming a destructive affair, with some of Mr. Pignati's most prized possessions being destroyed. However, it is not just the party itself. Much of that destruction took place because the characters had been consuming alcohol. Some may feel that the presence of alcohol in the story could glorify its consumption.


Further, the protagonists in The Pigman use language that many find objectionable. While John does tend to write such language with the use of various symbols to disguise what he is actually saying, the fact is that many students can figure it out quickly. Additionally, there are other words that, while not necessarily profane during the time that The Pigman was written, are still inappropriate out of context and especially inappropriate in today's more informed environment. For example, John frequently calls those with whom he disagrees 'retards'.

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