What kind of problems does Lorraine  have at home?

Expert Answers
omconnelly eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lorraine's problems at home stem primarily from her mother. Lorraine's mother's issues with men and honesty create an unstable environment for Lorraine at home where she is overly criticized and expected to behave more like her mother's roommate than her daughter. 

These issues began before Lorraine was born, when Lorraine's father cheated on her mother and they separated. As a result, Lorraine's mother has an extreme distrust of men and boys. This manifests itself in Lorraine's mother distrusting anyone Lorraine interacts with. Unfortunately, Lorraine's best friend is a boy named John, so Lorraine has no choice but to lie to her mother constantly.

Lorraine's mother is also overly critical of Lorraine - particularly her appearance. It is ironic that her mother is so focused on Lorraine's appearance because she doesn't want her to appeal to the opposite sex. Lorraine's self-confidence and self-esteem is adversely impacted by her mother's unrelenting negative comments about her appearance. 

Lastly, Lorraine's mother is not a positive role model for her daughter. Although her expectations for her daughter are lofty and often unattainable, she is not an honest woman. Because they don't have much money, Lorraine's mother often "borrows" food from her work (she is a nurse who cares for elderly patients). She also receives kickbacks for recommending funeral homes to her deceased patients' families. This penchant for dishonesty impacts Lorraine; she is an adept liar. This is evident when she initially speaks to Mr. Pignati on the telephone and convinces him to donate to her fictitious charity. Unlike her mother, Lorraine cannot maintain her deception and reveals the truth to the kind and pitiful Mr. Pignati. 

Ultimately, Lorraine's home environment is not ideal. Rather than raise her daughter to be an independent and secure young woman, Lorraine's mother's criticism and dishonesty result in a self-conscious teenager who finds solace in a stranger's home. Fortunately, Lorraine's relationship with Mr. Pignati is positive and gives her a new perspective about life in general.