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Norton calls Lorraine as "the screech owl" in The Pigman by Paul Zindel, and, in case there is any doubt, it is not meant as a compliment. John is defensive and makes Norton pay for his rude remark about Lorraine because he does not like Norton and because he does like Lorraine.
John has never liked Norton, explaining that Norton “was always picking fights and throwing stones and beating up everybody.” As Norton got older, his behavior got progressively worse. In fact, John believes his classmate is the "type of guy who could grow up to be a killer."
The great irony, of course, is that John has also made fun of Lorraine's voice before, but of course it is not the same as allowing someone else to do it. John writes:
"You're ruining your lungs with that thing" was the first remark out of her [Lorraine's] mouth besides a cough from a misdirected puff from my cigarette. She sounds just like her mother when she says that.
And, of course, that comparison is not a compliment.
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