In Paul Zindel's The Pigman, how does Lorraine justify John's outlandish behavior? 

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 2 of Paul Zindel's young adult novel The Pigman, Lorraine uses the fact that John is "extremely handsome" to justify how often John gets away with his rebellious behavior. As she explains, John feels the need to "do something unusual all the time," such as type a letter in Miss Stewart's typing class so that the margins are in the shape of an hourglass. As Lorraine further explains, if John had been ugly, he wouldn't be able to get away with his rebelliousness and would have been shipped off to "reform school."

Lorraine also briefly asserts that "analysts" would blame John's rebelliousness on his need to "assert his independence." Lorraine particularly blames John's behavior on his family. In fact, she states, "We both have families you wouldn't believe," but refuses to go into further details in this particular chapter.

Later, in Chapter 9, from John, we learn that the reason he behaves rebelliously and drinks and smokes so much is simply because his family doesn't care what he does. He further tells a story from when he was a child: his father was a heavy drinker, and John used to attract attention by emptying his father's beer cans. Hence, his father is guilty of influencing John's drinking. However, when his father was diagnosed with liver illness and quit drinking, nobody seemed to notice that John did not quit drinking too. Nobody cares what he does so long as he doesn't bother his father. He also reports that his older brother Kenny is the one everyone admires, and the only thing John can do better than Kenny is drink beer.