What are some themes in The Pigman?

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Jonathan Beutlich eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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One theme that I think is integral to the entire story deals with friends and family. John and Lorraine do not come from great homes. Each home situation is abusive in different ways, so John and Lorraine simply do not have a family unit that is there to comfort them. This support system is found through being friends with each other. John has other "friends" in the book, but none of them care for him the way that Lorraine and Mr. Pignati do. Mr. Pignati has lost his family as well, and he has essentially found a replacement through John and Lorraine. This shows that deep friendships can absolutely be equivalent to a loving family.

Another theme is mortality. For such a short book that is written to a young adult audience, the book is filled with death. Mr. Pignati's wife is dead, Bobo dies, Mr. Pignati dies, and Lorraine's mother cares for dying patients. Even John fears that his own dad is going to die soon which seems odd considering what a terrible father he is; however, that speaks volumes about the strong bonds that exist between family members no matter how broken those bonds might appear. All in all, the reader is constantly being reminded that death is real and often right around the corner.

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brandih eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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1. Parental Relations - Both John and Lorraine have poor relationships with their parents, who regard them as disturbing burdens. John's parents regard him as a disturbance that must be controlled, molded, and shaped into a carbon copy of his father

2. Consequences - John and Lorraine both realize that they were involved to some degree in Mr. Pignati's death, but differ in the amount of responsibility they're willing to take.

3. Life & Death - The book is filled with images and questions about life and death. Lorraine's father is dead, and her mother comes home daily with gripes and callous words about her dying patients. In Mr. Pignati's house, John and Lorraine find documents from Conchetta Pignati's funeral and read them with mingled sadness, horror, and fascination.

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