The Pigman Questions and Answers
by Paul Zindel

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How does Lorraine explain the reason for her mother's attitude toward men in chapters 10, 11, and 12 of The Pigman?

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 The chapters in Paul Zindel's The Pigman alternate between narrators John and Lorraine, so nothing is said by John about Lorraine's mother in chapter 11. Chapter 10, however, is where Lorraine explicitly mentions what happened in her mother's past. Apparently, while her mother was pregnant with Lorraine, the doctor told her mother not to let her husband touch her until his "disease" was gone. Then Lorraine's mother discovered there was a girlfriend on the side and she soon filed for a legal separation. Her father's infidelity hurt her mother deeply because they had been childhood sweethearts (107). One could infer that Lorraine's mother may not have dated anyone else; and since they had known each other for so long, the cut was deep and left a wound that never really healed--even after her husband died.

Lorraine's experiences with her mother include behavior such as the following:

"When she goes to work on a night shift, she constantly reminds me to lock the doors and windows. . . Beware of men is what she's really saying. They  have dirty minds, and they're only after one thing. Rapists are roaming the earth" (106).

It's as if her mother is overcompensating for her own mistakes in life. Surely she wants to protect her daughter, but much of what she says to Lorraine comes across as bitter, negative, and mistrusting rather than protective. For example, in chapter 12, Lorraine's mother tells her about a client's husband who seemed to be flirting with her that day and how much men like that disgust her. Then, almost in the same breath, she projects her views onto her daughter by asking the following:

"Lorraine, don't you think that skirt is a little too short? . . . Just because all the other girls have sex on their minds, doesn't mean you have to" (136).

Lorraine has learned to limit her responses so not to make the situation with her mother worse. Lorraine discusses her mother in other chapters as well, but chapter 10 is the one with the most descriptive reason for her mother's behavior and views towards men.

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